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COLLECTED EDMON 



OF THE 



NOVELS AND TALES 



BY 



THE EIGHT HONOEABLE 



B. DISEAELL 



Vol. VII.—CONTARINI FLEMING and 
THE RISE OF ISKANDER. 



LONDOir: IMCINTBD BT 

SPOTTISWOODR AND CO., MKW-STRKKT BQUABB 

AJTD PABLIAMBITT STBBBT 



CONTAEINI FLEMING: 



A PaYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 



THE EISE OF ISKANDEE. 



BY THE 



RIGHT HONOEABLE B. DISEAELI. 



NJSW EDITION. 




LONDON : 
LONGMANS, GEEEN, AND CO. 

187L 



All rights reserved. 



^6'/. J-. /6A-, 



PREFACE 

TO 

CONTAEINI FLEMING. 



The author proposed to himself, in writing this work, 
a subject that has ever been held one of the most 
difficult and refined, and which is virgin in the 
imaginative literature of every country — ^namely, the 
development and formation of the poetic character. 
It has, indeed, been sometimes incidentally treated, and 
partially illustrated by writers of the highest class, 
as for instance Gothe in his * Wilhelm Meister,' where 
are expounded, with so much felicity, the mysteries 
of predisposition ; and the same illustrious author has, 
in his capricious memoirs, favoured us with much of his 
individual experience of self-formation ; in this resem- 
bling preceding poets, none more conspicuously than 
Count Alfieri. But an ideal and complete picture of 
the development of the poet had not been produced, 
nor had any one entirely grappled with the thorough 
formation of that mysterious character with which, 
though unlike all of us, we all of us so strangely 
sympathise. 



VI PREFACE. 

When the author meditated over the entireness of 
the subject, it appeared to him that the auto-biogra- 
phical form was a necessary condition of a successful 
fulfilment. It seemed the only instrument that could 
penetrate the innermost secrets of the brain and heart 
in a being, whose thought and passion were so much 
cherished in loneliness, and revealed often only in 
solitude. In the earlier stages of the theme the self- 
discoverer seemed an indispensable agent. What 
narrative by a third person could suflBciently paint 
the melancholy and brooding childhood, the first in- 
dications of the predisposition, the growing conscious- 
ness of power, the reveries, the loneliness, the doubts, 
the moody misery, the ignorance of art, the failures, 
the despair ? 

Having adopted this conclusion, tlie author then 
endeavoured to conceive a character whose position in 
life should be at variance, and, as it were, in constant 
conflict with his temperament; and the accidents 
of whose birth, nevertheless, tended to develop his 
psychology. The combination that connected in one 
being Scandinavia and the South, and made the image 
of a distant and most romantic city continually act 
upon a nervous temperament, surrounded by the snows 
and forests of the North, though novel, it is believed, 
in literature, was by no means an impossible or even 
improbable one. 

Pursuing an analogous construction, it was resolved, 
that the first great passion of the poet, the one that 
would give a colour to the life of such an individual, 



PREFACE. vii 

should arise out of the same circumstance; and in 
harmony, it is thought, with an organisation of a 
susceptibility so peculiar, this critical passage in his 
life is founded upon the extreme mysteries of sym- 
pathy, and carried on by the influences of animal 
magnetism. 

This book, written with great care, after deep medi- 
tation, and in a beautiful and distant land favourable 
to composition, with nothing in it to attract the 
passions of the hour, was published anonymously in the 
midst of a revolution (1831-2); and it seemed that 
it must die. But gradually it has gained the sympathy 
of the thoughtful and the refined, and it has had the 
rare fortune of being cherished by great men. Now 
it is offered to a new generation, and bears the name 
of its author, because, on critically examining it, he 
finds that, though written in early youth, it has 
accomplished his idea. Were he equal to his subject, 
the book would last, for that subject is eternal. 



Gbosyenor Gate: 
Jult^, 1845. 



CONTAHINI FLEMING. 



r 



-•o*- 



CHAPTER I. 

Wandering in those deserts of Africa that border the Eiy- 
thrsean Sea, I came to the river Nile, to that ancient, and 
mighty, and famous stream, whose waters yielded ns our 
earHest civilisation, and which, after having witnessed the 
formation of so many states and the invention of so many 
creeds, still flow on with the same serene beneficence, like 
all that we can conceive of Deity ; in form sublime, in action 
systematic, in nature bountiful, in source unknown. 

My solitary step sounded in the halls of the Pharaohs. 
I moved through those imperial chambers supported by a 
thousand columns, and guarded by colossal forms seated on 
mysterious thrones. I passed under glittering gates meet 
to receive the triumphant chariot of a Titan : I gazed on 
sublime obelisks pointing to the skies, whose secrets their 
mystic characters affected to conceal. Wherever I threw 
my sight I beheld vast avenues of solemn sphinxes reposing 
in supernatural beauty, and melancholy groups of lion- 
visaged kings ; huge walls vividly pictured with the sacred 
rites and the domestic ofl&ces of remote antiquity, or sculp- 
tured with the breathing forms of heroic warfare. 

And all this might, all this magnificence, all this mystery, 
all this beauty, all this labour, all this high invention-, 
where were their originators ? I fell into deep musing. 

B 



2 COXTARDiI FLEMING: 

And the kingdoms of the earth passed before me, finom the 
thrones of the Pharaohs to those enormons dominations 
that sprang out of the £endal chaos, the nnlawfnl children 
of ignorance and expediency. And I surveyed the genera- 
tions of man from Bameses the great, and Memnon the 
beaatifiil, to the solitary pilgrim, whose presence now 
Tiolated the sanctity of their gorgeons sepulchres. And I 
fonnd that the history of my race was bnt one tale of rapid 
destmction or gradual decay. 

And in the anguish of my heart I lifted up my hands to 
the blue aether, and I said, * Is there no hope ! ' What is 
knowledge, and what is truth ? How shall I gain wisdom ?' 

The wind arose, the bosom of the desert heaved, pillars 
of sand sprang from the earth and whirled across the plain; 
sounds more awfid than thunder came rushing from the 
south ; the fiuie and the palace, the portal and the obelisk, 
the altar and the throne, the picture and the frieze, disap- 
peared from my sight, and darkness brooded over the land. 
I knelt down and hid my&ce in the moveable and burning 
soO, and as the wind of the desert passed over me, me- 
thought it whispered, ' Child of Nature, learn to unlearn! ' 

We are the slaves of fidse knowledge. Our memories are 
filled with ideas that have no origin in truth. We learn 
nothing from ourselves. The sum of our experience is but 
a dim dream of the conduct of past generations, generations 
that lived in a total ignorance of their nature. Our in- 
structors are the unknowing and the dead. We study 
human nature in a charnel-house, and, like the nations of 
the East, we pay divine honours to the maniac and the 
fool. A series of systems have mystified existence. We 
believe what our fathers credited, because they were con- 
vinced without a cause. The faculty of thought has been 
destroyed. Yet our emasculated minds, without the power 
of fruition, still pant for the charms of wisdom. It is this 
that makes us fly with rapture to false knowledge, to 



A PSYCHOLOaiCAL ROMANCE. 3 

tradition, to prejudice, to custom. Delusive tradition, 
destructive prejudice, degenerating custom ! It is this that 
makes us prostrate ourselves with reverence before the 
wisdom of bygone ages, in no one of which has man been 
the master of his own reason. 

I am desirous of writing a book which shall be all truth: 
a work of which the passion, the thought, the action, and 
even the style, should spring from my own experience of 
feeling, from the meditations of my own intellect, from my 
own observation of incident, from my own stady of the 
genius of expression. 

When I turn over the pages of the metaphysician, I 
perceive a science that deals in words instead of facts. 
Arbitrary axioms lead to results that violate reason ; ima- 
ginary principles establish systems that contradict the 
common sense of mankind. All is dogma, no part demon- 
stration. Wearied, perplexed, doubtfrd, I throw down the 
volume in disgust. 

When I search into my own breast, and trace the 
development of my own intellect, and the formation of my 
own character, all is light and order. The luminous succeeds 
to the obscure, the certain to the doubtful, the intelligent 
to the illogical, the practical to the impossible, and I 
experience all that refined and ennobling satisfaction that 
we derive from the discovery of truth, and the contempla- 
tion of nature. 

I have resolved, therefore, to write the history of my 
own life, because it is the subject of which I have the truest 
knowledge. 

At an age when some have scarcely entered upon their 
career, I can look back upon past years spent in versatile 
adventure and long meditation. My thought has been the 
consequence of my organisation : my action the result of a 
necessity not less imperious. My fortune and my intelli- 
gence have blended together, and formed my character. 

B 2 



4 CONTAKINI FLEMING: 

I am desirons of executing tliis purpose wliile my brain 
is still fed by the ardent, thougb tempered, flame of youtli ; 
while I can recall the past with accuracy, and record it 
with Tividness; while my memory is still £a,ithful, and 
while the dewy freshness of youthful fancy still lingers on 
my mind. 

I would bring to this work the illumination of an intellect 
emancipated from the fatal prejudices of an irrational 
education. This may be denied me. Yet some exemption 
from the sectarian prejudices that embitter life may surely 
be expected from one who, by a curious combination of 
circumstances, finds himself without country, without 
kindred, and without friends ; nor will he be suspected of 
indulging in the delusion of worldly vanity, who, having 
acted in the world, has retired to meditate in an inviolate 
solitude, and seeks relief fi^m the overwhelming vitality of 
thought in the flowing spirit of poetic creation. 



CHAPTER II. 



When I can first recall existence, I remember myself a 
melancholy child. My father. Baron Fleming, was a Saxon 
nobleman of ancient family, who, being opposed to tbe 
Frencb interest, quitted bis country at the commencement 
of this century, and after leading for some years a wander- 
ing life, entered into the service of a northern court. At 
Venice, yet a youth, he married a daughter of the noble 
house of Contarini, and of that marriage I was the only 
ofispring. My entrance into this world was marked with 
evil, for my mother yielded up her life while investing mo 
with mine. I was christened with the name of her illus- 
trious race. Thus much during the first years of my 
childhood I casually learnt, but I know not how. I feel I 
was early conscious that my birth was a subject on which 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 5 

it was proper that I should not speak, and one, the mention 
of which, it was early instilled into me, would only occa- 
sion my remaining parent bitter sorrow. Therefore upon 
this topic I was ever silent, and with me, from my earliest 
recollection, Venice was a name to be shunned 

My fiither again married. His new bride was a daughter 
of the country which had adopted him. She was of high 
blood, and very wealthy, and beautiM in the fashion of her 
land. This union produced two children, both males. As 
a child, I viewed them with passive antipathy. They were 
called my brothers, but Nature gave the lie to the reiterated 
assertion. There was no similitude between us. Their 
blue eyes, their flaxen hair, and their white visages claimed 
no kindred with my Venetian countenance. Wherever I 
moved I looked around me, and beheld a race different 
from myself. There was no sympathy between my frame 
and the rigid clime whither I had been brought to live. I 
knew not why, but I was unhappy. Had I found in one of 
my father's new children a sister, all might have been 
changed. In that sweet and singular tie I might have 
discovered solace, and the variance of constitution would 
perhaps between different sexes have fostered, rather than 
discouraged, affection. But this blessing was denied me. 
I was alone. 

I loved my father dearly and deeply, but I seldom saw 
him. He was buried in the depth of affairs. A hurried 
kiss and a passing smile were the fleeting gifts of his 
affection. Scrupulous care, however, was taken that I 
should never be, and should never feel, neglected. I was 
overloaded with attentions, even as an infant. My step- 
mother, swayed by my father, and perhaps by a well- 
regulated mind, was vigilant in not violating the etiquette 
of maternal duty. No favour was shown to my white 
brethren which was not extended also to me. To me also, 
as the eldest, the preference, if necessary, was ever yielded. 



6 CONTAKINI FLEiUNG: 

But for tlie rest, she was cold and I was repulsive, and 
she stole from the saloon, which I rendered interesting by 
no infantile graces, to the nursery, where she could lavish 
her love upon her troublesome but sympathising offspring, 
and listen to the wondrous chronicle, which their attendants 
daily supplied, of their marvellous deeds and ahnost oracular 
prattle. 

Because I was unhappy I was sedentary and silent, for 
the lively sounds and the wild gambols of children are but 
the unconscious outpouring of joy. They make their gay 
noises, and burst into their gay freaks, as young birds in 
spring chant in the free air, and flutter in the fresh boughs. 
But I could not revel in the rushing flow of my new blood, 
nor yield up my frame to its dashing and voluptuous 
course. I could not yet analyse my feelings ; I could not, 
indeed, yet think ; but I had an instinct that I was diffe- 
rent from my fellow-creatures, and the feeling was not 
triumph, but horror. 

My quiet inaction gained me the reputation of stupidity. 
In vain they endeavoured to conceal from me their impres- 
sion. I read it in their looks, in their glances of pity AiIL 
of learned discernment, in their telegraphic exchanges of 
mutual conviction. At last, in a moment of irritation, the 
secret broke from one of my white brothers. I felt that the 
urchin spoke truth, but I cut him to the ground. He ran 
howling and yelping to his dam. I was surrounded by the 
indignant mother and the domestic police. I listened to 
their agitated accusations and palpitating threats of punish- 
ment with sullen indifference. I offered no defence. I 
courted their vengeance ; it came in the shape of imprison- 
ment. I was conducted to my room, and my door was 
looked on the outside. I answered the malignant sound by 
bolting it in the interior. I remained there the whole day, 
deaf to all their entreaties, without sustenance, feeding 
only upon my vengeance. Each fresh visit was an addi« 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL KOMANCE. 7 

tional triumph. I never answered ; I never moved. De- 
mands of apology were exchanged for promises of pardon ; 
promises of pardon were in turn succeeded by offers of 
reward. I gave no sign. I heard them stealing on tiptoe 
to the portal, full of alarm, and even doubtful of my life. 
Scarcely would I breathe. At length the door was burst 
open, and in rushed the half-fainting Baroness and a posse 
of servants, with the children clinging to their nurses' 
gowns. Planted in a distant comer, I received them with 
a gnm smile. I was invited away. I refused to move. A 
man-servant advanced and touched me. I stamped; I 
gnashed my teeth ; I gave a savage growl that made him 
recoil with dread. The Baroness lost her remaining pre- 
sence of mind, withdrew with her train, and was obliged to 
call in my father, to whom all was for the first time 
communicated. 

I heard his well-known step upon the stair. I beheld the 
face that never looked upon me without a smile ; if in care- 
lessness, still, still a smile. Kow it was grave, but sad, 
not harsh. 

' Gontarini,' he said, in a serious but not angered voice, 
*whatisaUthis?' 

I burst into a wild cry; I rushed to his anns. He 
pressed me to his bosom. He tried to kiss away the 
flooding tears that each embrace called forth more plen- 
teously. For the first time in my life I felt happy, because, 
for the first time in my life, I felt loved. 



OBAPTER m. 



It was a beautiful garden, fuU of terraces and arched walks 
of bowery trees. A taU fountain sprang up &om a marble 
basin, and its ghttering column broke in its fall into a 
thousand coloured drops, and woke the gleamy fish that 



8 CONTARINI FLEMING : 

would have slept in the dim water. And I wandered 
abont, and the enchanted region seemed illimitable, and at 
each turn more magical and more bright. Now ^ white 
vase shining in the light, now a dim statue shadowed in a 
cool grot. I wonld have lingered a moment at the mossy 
hermitage, but the distant bridge seemed to invite me to 
new adventures. 

It was only three miles from the city, and belonged to 
the aunt of the Baroness. I was brought hither to play. 
When the women met there was much kissing, and I also 
was kissed, but it gave me no pleasure, for I felt even then 
that it was a form, and I early imbibed a hatred of all this 
mechanical domestic love. And they sat together, and 
took out their work, and talked without ceasing, chiefly 
about the children. The Baroness retold all the wonderful 
stories of the nurses, many of which I knew to be false. 
I did not say this, but the conviction gave me, thus early, a 
contempt for the chatter of women. So soon as I was 
unobserved I stole away to the garden. 

Even then it was ravishing to be alone ; and although I 
could not think, and knew not the cause of the change, I 
felt serene, and the darkness of my humour seemed to leave 
me, all was so new and all so beautiful. The bright 
sweet flowers, and the rich shrubs, and the tall trees, and 
the flitting birds, and the golden bees, and the gay butter- 
flies, and that constant and soothing hum broken only ever 
and anon by a strange shrill call, and that wonder^ 
blending of brilliancy, and freshness, and perfume, and 
warmth, that strong sense of the loveliness and vitality of 
Nature which we feel amid the growing life of ^ fair 
garden, entered into my soul, and difiused themselves over 
my frame, softened my heart, and charmed my senses. 

But all this was not alone the cause of my happiness ; 
for to me the garden was not a piece of earth belonging to 
my aunt, but a fine world. I wandered about in quest of 



A PSYCHOLOaiCAL EOMANCE. 9 

some strange adventiire, which I wonld fain believe, in so 
&ir a region, must quickly occur. The terrace was a vast 
desert, over which I travelled for many days ; and the 
mazy walks, so mysterious and unworldly, were an un- 
explored forest fit for a true knight. And in the hermitage 
I sought the simple hospitality of a mild and aged host, 
who pointed to the far bridge as surely leading to a great 
fulfilment ; and my companion was a faithful esquire, whose 
fidelity was never wanting, and we conversed much, but 
most respecting a mighty ogre who was to faU beneath my 
puissant arm. Thus glided many a day in unconscious and 
creative reverie ; but sometimes, when I had explored over 
and over again each nook and comer, and the illimitable 
feeling had worn off, the power of imagination grew weak ; 
I found myself alone amid the sweets and sunshine, and 
fell sad. 

But I would not quit this delicious world without an 
effort, and I invented a new mode of ndngling in its life. 
I reclined beneath a shady tree, and I covered my eyes 
with my little hand, and I tried to shut out the garish light 
that seemed to destroy the visions which were ever flitting 
before me. They came in their beauty, obedient to my 
call; and I wandered in strange countries, and achieved 
many noble acts, and said many noble words ; and the 
beings with whom I acted were palpable as myself, with 
beautiful faces and graceful forms. And there was a brave 
young knight, who was my friend, and his life I ever saved ; 
and a lovely princess, who spoke not, but smiled ever and 
ever upon me. And we were lost in vast forests, and 
shared hard food ; and as the evening drew on we came to 
the gates of a castle* 

' Contarini ! Contarini ! ' a voice sounded from the house, 
and all the sweet visions rushed away like singing-birds 
scared out of a tree. I was no longer a brave knight ; I 
was a child. I rose miserable and exhausted, and, in spite 



10 CONTAUmi FLEMING : 

of a i^peated cry, I returned with a slow step and a sullen 
&ce. 

I saw that there was an nnusual bustle in the house. 
Servants were running to and fro doing nothing, doors 
were slammed, and there was much calling. I stole into 
the room unperceived. It was a new comer. They were 
all standing around a beautiful girl expanding into prime 
womanhood, and all talking at the same time. There was 
also much kissing. 

It appeared to me that there could not be a more lovely 
being than the visitor. She was dressed in a bine riding- 
coat, with a black hat which had fisJlen off her forehead. 
Her full chestnut curls had broken loose ; her rich cheek 
glowed with the excitement of the meeting, and her laugh- 
ing eyes sparkled with social love. 

I gazed upon her unperceived. She must have been at 
least eight years my senior. This idea crossed me not 
then. I gazed upon her unperceived, and it was fortunate, 
for I was entranced. I could not move or speak. My 
whole system changed ; my breath lefb me. I panted with 
great difficulty ; the colour fled from my cheek, and I was 
sick from the blood rushing to my heart. 

I was seen, I was seized, I was pulled forward. I bent 
down my head ; they lifted it up, drawing back my curls ; 
they lifted it up covered with blushes. ' She leant down ; 
she kissed me. Oh ! how unlike the dull kisses of the 
morning ! But I could not return her embrace ; I nearly 
swooned upon her bosom. She praised, in her good-nature, 
the pretty boy, and the tone in which she spoke made me 
doubly feel my wretched insignificance. 

The bustle subsided ; eating succeeded to talking. Our 
good aunt was a great priestess in the mysteries of plum- 
cake and sweet wine. I had no appetite. This was the 
fruitfol theme of much discussion. I could not eat ; I 
thought only of the fair stranger. They wearied me with 



A PSYOHOLOaiOAL ROMANCE. 11 

their wonderment and their inquiries. I was irritated, and 
I was irritable. The Baroness schooled me in that dull 
tedious way which always induces obstinacy. At another 
time I should have been sullen, but my heart was full and 
softened, and I wept. My stepmother was alarmed lest, in 
an unguarded moment, she should have passed the cold, 
strict line of maternal impartiality which she had laid down 
for her constant regulation. She would have soothed me 
with commonplace consolation. I was miserable and dis- 
gusted. I fled again to the garden. 

I regained with hurrying feet my favourite haunt! Again 
I sat under my &yourite tree ; but not now to build castles 
of joy and hope, not now to commune with my beautiM 
creation, and reyel in the warm flow of my excited fancy. 
All, all had fled ; all, all had changed. I shivered under 
the cold horror of my reality. 

I thought I heard beautiful music, but it was only the 
voice of a woman. 

* Oontarini,' said the voice, * why do you weep ? ' 

I looked up; it was the stranger, it was Christiana. 

* Because,' I answered, sobbing, ^ I am miserable.' 

'Sweet boy,' she said, as she knelt down beside me, 
' dry, dry your tears, for we all love you. Mamma meant 
not to be cross.' 

' Mamma ! She is not mn/ mamma.' 

* But she loves you like a mother.' 

* No one loves me.' 

* All love you dearest ! I love you ; ' and she kissed me 
with a thousand kisses. 

' 0, Christiana ! ' I exclaimed, in a low tremulous voice, 

* love me, love me always ! If you do not love me, I shall die ! ' 

I threw my arms around her neck, and a gleam of 
rapture seemed to burst through the dark storm of my 
grief. She pressed me to her heart a thousand times, and 
each time I clung with a more ardent grasp ; and, by 



12 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

degrees, the fierceness of mj passion died away, and heavy 
sobs succeeded to my torrents of tears, and light sighs at 
last came flying after, like clouds in a clearing heaven. 
Our grief dies away Hke a thunder-storm. 



CHAPTER IV. 



The visit of Christiana was the first great incident of my 
life. No day passed without my seeing her, either at the 
Grarden-houBe, or at our own, and each day I grew happier. 
Her presence, the sound of her voice, one bright smile, and 
I was a different being ; but her caresses, her single society, 
the possession of her soft hand, all this was maddening. 
When I was with her in the company of others I was 
happy, but I indicated my happiness by no exterior sign. 
I sat by her side, with my hand locked in hers, and I fed 
in silence upon my tranquil joy. But when we were alone, 
then it was that her influence over me broke forth. All the 
feelings of my heart were hers. I concealed nothing. I 
told her each moment that I loved her, and that until I 
knew her I was unhappy. Then I would communicate 
to her in confidence all my secret sources of enjoyment, and 
explained how I had turned common places into enchanted 
regions, where I could always fly for refuge. She listened 
with fondness and delight, and was the heroine of all my 
sports. Now I had indeed a princess. Strolling with her, 
the berceau was still more like a forest, and the solace of 
the hermit's cell still more refreshing. 

Her influence over me was all-powerful, for she seemed 
to change my habits and my temper. In kindness she 
entered into my solitary joys ; in kindness she joined in 
my femtastic amusements ; for her own temper was social, 
and her own delight in pastimes that were common to all. 
She tried to rouse me firom my inaction, she counselled me 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 13 

to mingle -with my companions. How graceful was this 
girl ! Grace was indeed her cliaracteristic, her charm. 
Sometimes she would run away swifter than an arrow, and 
then, as she was skimming along, suddenly stop, and turn 
her head with an expression so fascinating, that she appeared 
to me always like a young sunny fawn. 

* Contarini ! ' she would cry in a clear flute-like voice. 
How I rushed to her ! 

I became more amiable to my brothers. I courted more 
the members of my little society. I even joined in their 
sports. It was whispered that Contarini was much im- 
proved, and the Baroness glanced at me with a kind 
patronising air, that seemed to hint to the initiated not 
to press me too heavily with their regulations, or exercise 
towards one so unpractised, perhaps so incapable, all the 
severity of their childish legislation. 

The visit of Christiana drew to a close. There was a 
children's ball at our house, and she condescended to be its 
mistress. Among my new companions there was a boy, 
who was two years my senior. He had more knowledge of 
the world than most of us, for he had been some time at 
school. He was gay, vivacious, talkative. He was the 
leader in all our diversions. We all envied him his 
superiority, and all called him conceited. He was ever 
with Christiana. I disliked him. 

I hated dancing, but to-night I had determined to dance, 
for the honour of our fair president. When the ball opened, 
I walked up to claim her hand as a matter of course. " She 
was engaged; she was engaged to this youthful hero. 
Engaged ! Was it true ! Engaged ! Horrible jargon ! 
Were the hollow forms of mature society to interfere with 
our play of love ? She expressed her regret, and promised 
to dance with me afterwards. She promised what I did 
not require. Pale and agitated I stole to a comer, and fed 
upon my mortified heart. 



14 CONTAEDft FLEMING: 

I watched lier in the dance. Never had she looked 
more beantiftil ; what was worse, never more happy;. 
Every smile pierced me through. Each pressure of my 
rival's hand touched my brain. I grew sick and dizzy. 
It was a terrible effort not to give way to my passion. 
But I succeeded, and escaped from the chamber with all its 
glaring lights and jarring sounds. 

I stopped one moment on the staircase for breath. A 
servant came up and asked if I wanted anything. I oonld 
not answer. He asked if I were unwelL I struggled with 
my choking voice, and said I was veiy welL I scDle up to 
my bed-room. I had no light, but a dim moon just revealed 
my bed. I* threw myself upon it, and wished to die. 

My forehead was burning hot, my feet were icy cold. 
My heart seemed in my throat. I felt quite sick. I could 
not speak ; I could not weep ; I could not think. Every- 
thing seemed blended in one terrible sensation of desolate 
and desolating wretchedness. 

Much time pei^iaps had not elapsed, although it seemed 
to me an age, but there was a sound in the room, light and 
gentle. I looked around ; I thought that a shadowy form 
passed between me and the window. A feeling of terror 
crossed me. I nearfy cried out ; but as my lips moved, a 
warm mouth sealed them with sweetness. 

* Contarini,' said a voice I could not mistake, ' are you 
unwell?' 

I would not answer. 

' Contanni, my love^ speak to Christiana ! ' 

But the demon prevailed, and I would not speak. 

' Contarini, you are not asleep.' 

Still I was silent. 

* Contarini, you do not love me.' 

I would have been silent, but I sighed. 

' Contarimi, what has happened ? Tell me, tell me, 
dearest. Tell your Christiana. You know you always 
teU her everything.' 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 15 

I seized her liand ; I bathed it with my fast-flowing tears. 

She knelt down as she did on onr flrst meeting in the 
garden, and clasped me in her arms ; and each moment the 
madness of my mind grew greater. I was convulsed with 
passion. 

And when I grew more calm she again spoke, and asked 
me what made me so unhappy ; and I said, between my 
wild sobs, *0! Christiana, you too have turned against 
me!' 

'Dear, sensitive child,' she said, as she pressed me to 
her bosom, * if you feel so keenly you will never be happy. 
Turn against you ! ! Oontarini, who is your £riend if 
not Christiana ! Do I not love you better than all the 
world ? Do I not do all I can to make you happy and 
good ? And why should I turn against Contarini, when he 
is the best and dearest of boys, and loves his Christiana 
with all his heart and soul ? ' 

She raised me from the bed and placed me in lier lap. 
My head reposed upon her fond and &ith&l heart. She 
was silent, for I was exhausted, and I felt her sweet breath 
descending upon my cheek. 

' Go,' I said, after some little time, and in a feeble voice, 
* go, Christiana. They want you.' 

* Not without you, dearest. I came to fetch you.' 
' I cannot go. It is impossible : I am so tired.' 

* Oh ! come. I shall be so unhappy if you do not come. 
You would not have me unhappy the whole evening, this 
evening that we were to be so gay. See ! I will run and 
fetch a Hght, and be with you in a moment.' And she 
kissed me and ran away, and in a moment returned. 

* Dearest Christiana I I cannot go. What will they think 
of me?' 

* Nobody knows even that you are away ; all are busy.' 

* What will they think of me ? Really I cannot go ; and 
my eyes are so red.' 



Iff C05TARI5I FLEXIKG: 

^ Sf/naeDMe ! Thej aie the blackest and most besatifai 
0fytm I ever »aw/ 

^ Ob ! they are borridlj red,' I answered, looking in the 
f^Umn. * I cannot go, Christiana.' 

' Tbej are not in the least red. I irill wash them with 
mmw Kan de Cologne and water.' 

* O ! Christiana, do 70a really love me ? Have 70a really 
nuule it up ? ' 

* I love yon more than ever. There, let me brash yonr 
ciirlfi. Is this your bmsh ? What a fiinny little brush ! 
Dour Contarini, how pretty you look ! ' 



CHAPTER V. 

WUKN I waH eight years of age a tutor was introduced into 
i<ho liouHO, and I was finally and formally emancipated from 
the ]M)Hoo of the nursery and the government of women. 
My tutor waN well qualified for his office, according to the 
cixiNtitig ideas rospooting education, which substitute for 
tlio iiohUmt of Hoionoos the vile art of teaching words. He 
wiiN Invnunl in hin acquirements, and literary in his taste, 
with u oahii mind, a bland manner, and a mild voice. The 
llaronoHH, >vho fancied herself a great judge of character, 
iUvotnvd hiiu, boforo the commencement of his labours, 
with an opitomo of mine. After a year's experience of his 
pupiK ho vouturiMl to express his opinion that I was by no 
)UfM\nA HO hIow \\h wiui sup[x>sod ; thai., although I had no 
llfivat. iHUVor of application, I was not averse to acquiring 
VuowUhI^* ; and that if I wore not endowed with any 
ix^nuvrkabW or tthiuin^r qualities, my friends might be con- 
m^!o\l t\^r (ho aWmv of thoso high powers by my being 
0\)\mll;k* doHtituto of thi^$o violent passions and that nn- 
lX\xvoraaWo voUuou u?*ua\ly attondant upon genius, and 
whioh (\H^ oftou it^udonxl the most gifbed miserable. 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 17 

I was always a bad learner, and althongli I loved know- 
ledge &om my cradle I liked to acquire it my own way. I 
think that I was bom with a detestation of grammars. 
Kature seemed to whisper me the folly of learning words 
instead of ideas, and my mind woidd have grown sterile 
for want of manure if I had not taken its culture into my 
own hands, and compensated by my own tillage for my 
tutor's bad husbandry. I therefore in a quiet way read 
every book that I could get hold of, and studied as little as 
possible in my instructor's museum of verbiage, whether 
his specimens appeared in the anatomy of a substantive, or 
the stiU more dSgusting form of a dissected verb. 

This period ofTy lie. too, was memorable for a more 
interesting incident than the introduction of my tutor. 
For the first time I visited the theatre. Never shall I 
forget the impression. At length I perceived human 
beings conducting themselves as I wished. I was mad 
for the playhouse, and I had the means of gratifying my 
mania. I so seldom fixed my heart upon anything, I 
showed, in general, such little relish for what is called 
amusement, that my father accorded me his permission 
with pleasure and facility, and, as an attendant to this 
magical haunt, I now began to find my tutor of great use. 

I had now a pursuit, for when I was not a spectator at 
the theatre, at home I was an actor. I required no 
audience ; I was happier alone. My chivalric reveries 
had been long gradually leaving me : now they entirely 
vanished. As I learnt more of life and nature, I re- 
quired for my private world something which, while it 
was beautiful and uncommon, was nevertheless natural 
and could Hve. Books more real than fairy tales and 
feudal romances had already made me muse over a more 
real creation. The theatre at once ftilly introduced me to 
this new existence, and there arose accordingly in my mind 
new characters. Heroes succeeded to knights, tyrants to 

C 



18 COXTARINI FTiEMTNa : 

ogres, and boundless empire to enchanted castles. My 
character also changed with my companions. Before, all 
was beantifdl and bright, but stilL and mystical. The 
forms that surrounded me were splendid, the scenes 
through which I passed glittering, but the changes took 
place without my agency, or if I acted, I ftdfiUed only the 
system of another, for the foundation was the supernatural. 
Now, if everything were less beautiful, everything was 
more earnest. I mingled with the warlike and the wise, 
the crafty, the suffering, the pious ; all depended upon our 
own exertions, and each result could only be brought about 
by our own simple and human energies, for the foundation 
was the natural 

Yet at times even this fertile source of eigoyment fedled, 
and the dark spirit which haunted me in my first years 
would still occasionally descend upon my mind. I knew 
not how it was, but the fit came upon me in an instant, and 
often when least counted on. A star, a sunset, a tree, a 
note of music, the sound of the wind, a fair face flitting by 
me in unknown beauiy, and I was lost. All seemed vapid, 
dull, spiritless, and fiat. Life had no object and no beauty; 
and I slunk to some solitary comer, where I was content to 
lie down and die. These were moments of agony, these 
were moments in which, if I were spoken to, I had no 
respect for persons. Once I remember my father found me 
before the demon had yet flown, and, for the first time, he 
spoke without being honoured. 

At last I had such a lengthened fit that it attracted ujii- 
versal attention. I would scarcely move, or speak, or eat 
for days. There was a general alarm. The Baroness fell 
into a flutter, lest my father should think that I had been 
starved to death, or ill-used, or poisoned, and overwhelmed 
me with inquiries, each of which severely procrastinated 
my convalescence. For doubtless, now that I can analyse 
my past feelings, these dark humours arose only fix)ni the 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 19 

want of being loved. Physicians were called in. There 
were immense consultations. They were aU puzzled, and 
all had recourse to arrogant dogmas. I would not, nay, I 
could not, assist them. Lying upon the sofa, with my eyes 
shut, as if asleep, I listened to their conferences. It was 
settled that I was suffering fi^om a want of nervous energy. 
Strange jargon, of which their fellow-creatures are the 
victims ! Although young, I looked upon these men with 
suspicion, if not contempt, and my afber life has both in- 
creased my experience of their character, and confirmed my 
juvenile impression. 

Change of air and scene were naturally prescribed for an 
effect by men who were ignorant of the cause. It was 
settled that I should leave town, accompanied by my tutor, 
and that we should reside for a season at my father's castle. 



CHAPTER VI. 



' And I, too, wiU fly to Egeria ! ' 

We were discoursing of Pompilius when the thought 
flashed across me. I no longer Hstened to his remarks, and 
I ceased also to answer. My eyes were indeed fixed upon 
the page, but I perceived nothing, and as it was not yet 
my hour of liberty, I remained in a soft state of dreamy 
abstraction. 

When I was again free I wandered forth into the park, 
and I hastened, with a rushing, agitated step, to the spot 
on which I had fixed. 

It was a small dell, and round it grew tall trees with thin 

and light-coloured leaves. And the earth was everywhere 

covered with thick fern and many wild flowers. And the 

dell was surrounded at a sHght distance by a deep wood, 

ont of which white glancing hares each instant darted 

to play upon the green sunny turf. It was not indeed a 

c 2 



20 CONTAKINI FLEMING: 

sparry grot cool in the sparkling splendour of a sontliern 
scene, it was not indeed a spot formed in tlie indefinite bnt 
lovely mould of tlie regions of my dreams, bnt it was green, 
and sweet, and wondrons still. 

I threw myself npon the sofb yielding fern, and covered 
my eyes. And a shadowy purple tint was all that I per« 
ceived ; and as my abstraction grew more intense, the purple 
lightened into a dusky white, and this new curtain again 
into a glitteriug veil, and the veil mystically disappeared, 
and I beheld a beauti^ and female fSace. 

It was not unlike Christiana, but moi*e dazzling and very 
pensive. And the eyes met mine, and they were full of 
serious lustre, and my heart beat, and I seemed to whisper 
with a low, but almost ecstatic voice, * Egeria ! ' Yet, in- 
deed, my lips did not move. And the vision beamed with 
a melancholy smile. And suddenly I found myself in a 
spacious cave, and I looked up into the face of a beautiftd 
woman, and her countenance was the countenance of the 
vision. And we were in deep shade, but far out I could 
perceive a shining and azure land. And the sky was of a 
radiant purple, and the earth was streaming with a golden 
light. And there were blue mountains, and bright fields, 
and ghttering vineyards. 

And I said nothing, but I looked upon her face, and dwelt 
upon her beauty. And the hours flew, and the sun set, and 
the dew descended. And as the sky became less warm the 
vision gradually died away; and I arose in the long twilight, 
and returned home pensi\ o and grave, but fioJl of a sofb 
and palpitating joy. 

When I returned I could not eat. My tutor made many 
observations, many inquiries ; but he was a simple man, 
and I could always quiet him. I sat at the table, full of 
happiness and almost without motion ; and in the evening 
I stole into a comer, and thought of the coming day with 
all its rich strange joys. 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL BOMANCE. 21 

My life was now one long stream of ftill felicity. It was, 
indeed, but one idea, but that idea was as beautiful as it 
was engrossing. Each day I hastened to the enchanted 
dell, each day I returned with renewed rapture. I had no 
thought for anything but my mystic mistress. My studies, 
always an effort, would now have been insupportable, had 
I not invented a system by which I rendered even their 
restraint a new source of enjoyment. I had now so com- 
plete a command of my system of abstraction, that, while 
Diy eye apparently was employed and interested with my 
allotted page, I, in fact, perceived nothing but my visionary 
nymph. My tutor, who observed me always engrossed, 
could not conceive that I was otherwise than a student, and, 
when I could remember, I would turn over a leaf, or affect 
with much anxiety to look out a word in the lexicon, so that 
his deception was perfect. Then, at the end of the day, I 
would snatch some hasty five minutes to gain an imperfect 
acquaintance with my task, imperfect enough to make him 
at length convinced that the Baroness' opinion of my in- 
tellect was not so erroneous as he had once imagined. 

A short spring and a long summer had passed away thus 
delightftilly, and I was now to leave the castlo and return 
to the capital. The idea of being torn away from Egeria 
was harrowing. I became again melancholy, but my grief 
was tender, not savage. I did not recur to my ancient 
gloom, for I was prevented by the consoling conviction that 
I was loved. Yet to her the sad secret must be confided. 
I could not quit her without preparation. How ofben in 
solitary possession of the dreadful fact, have I gazed upon 
her incomparable &ce ; how often have I &ncied that she 
was conscious of the terrible truth, and glanced reproach- 
fully even amid her looks of love ! 

It was told : in broken accents of passionate woe, with 
streaming eyes, and amid embraces of maddening rapture, 
it was told. I clung to her, I would have clung to her for 



22 CONTARIXI FLEMISa: 

ever, but a dark and irresistible destiny doomed us to part^ 
and I was left to my uninspired loneliness. 

Returning borne from my last yisit to tbe dell I miet my 
tutor. He came upon me suddenly, otherwise I would baye 
avoided bim, as at this moment I would have avoided any- 
thing else human. My swollen cheeks, my eyes dim with 
weeping, my wild and broken walk, attracted even bis 
attention. He inquired what ailed me. His appearance, 
so different from the radiant being from whom I had lately 
parted, his voice so strange after the music which yet lin- 
gered in my ear, his salutation so varying in style from, the 
one that ever welcomed me, and ever and alone was wel- 
come, the horrible contrast that my situation formed with 
the condition I had that instant quitted, aU this overcame 
me. I expressed my horror by my extended arms and my 
averted head. I shuddered and swooned. 



CHAPTER Vn. 



Although I have delineated with some detail the feelings 
of my first boyhood, I have been indebted for this record to 
the power of a fsAthfal and analytic memory, and not to an 
early indulgence in the habits of introspection. For indeed, 
in these young years, I never thought about myself, or if 
some extraordinary circumstance impelled me to idiosyn- 
cratic contemplation, the result was not cheering. For I 
well remember that when, on the completion of my eleventh 
year, being about to repair to a College, where I was to 
pass some years preparatory to the University, I meditated 
on this great and coming change, I was impressed with a 
keen conviction of inferiority. It had sometimes, indeed, 
crossed my mind that I was of a different order from those 
around me, but never that the difference was in my favour ; 
and, brooding over the mortifying contrast, which my 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL BOMANCE. 23 

exploits exhibited ia my private and my public world, and 
the general opinion which they entertained of me at home, 
I was at times strongly tempted to consider myself even 
half a fool. 

Though change was ever agreeable, I thought of the' 
vicissitude that was about to occur with the same appre- 
hension that men look forward to the indefinite horror of a 
terrible operation. And the strong pride that supported 
me under the fear, and forbade me to demonstrate it, was 
indeed the cause of my sad forebodings. For I could not 
tolerate the thought that I should become a general jest 
and a common agent. And when I perceived the state pre- 
paring for me, and thought of Egeria, I blushed. And that 
beautifal vision, which had brought me such delicious solace, 
was now only a source of depressing mortification. And for 
the first time in my life, in my infinite tribulation, and in 
the agony of my fancy, I mused why there should be such 
a devilish and tormenting variance between my thought 
and my action. 

The hour came, and I was placed in the heart of a little 
and busy world. For the first time in my life I was sur- 
rounded by struggling and excited beings. Joy, hope, 
sorrow, ambition, craft, courage, wit, dulness, cowardice, 
beneficence, awkwardness, grace, avarice, generosity, 
wealth, poverty, beauty, hideousness, tyranny, suffering, 
hypocrisy, truth, love, hatred, energy, inertness ; they were 
all there, and all sounded, and moved, and acted^ about me. 
Light laughs, and bitter cries, and deep imprecations, and 
the deeds of the friendly, the prodigal, and the tyrant, and 
the exploits of the brave, the graceful, and the gay, and the 
flying words of native wit, and the pompous sentences of ac- 
quired knowledge ; how new, how exciting, how wonderfal ! 

Did I tremble? Did I sink into my innermost self? 
Did I fly? Never. As I gazed upon them, a new principle 
rose up in my breast, and I perceived only beings whom I 



24 CONTARINI FLEMING : 

was determined to control. They came up to me with a 
onrions glance of half-suppressed glee, breathless and 
mocking. They asked me questions of gay nonsense with 
a serious voice and solemn look. I answered in their kind. 
On a sudden I seemed endowed with new powers, and 
blessed with the gift of tongues. I spoke to them, with 
a levity which was quite strange to me, a most unnatural 
ease. I even, in my turn, presented to them questions, to 
which they found it difl&cult to respond. Some run away 
to communicate their impression to their comrades, some 
stayed behind, but these became more serious and more 
natural. When they found that I was endowed witb a 
pregnant and decided character, their eyes silently pro- 
nounced me a good fellow; they vied with each other in 
kindness, and the most important led me away to initiate 
me in their mysteries. 

Weeks flew away, and I was intoxicated with my new 
life and my new reputation. I was in a state of ceaseless 
excitement. It seemed that my tongue never paused : yet 
each word brought forth a new laugh, each sentence of 
gay nonsense fresh plaudits. All was rattle, frolic, and 
wild mirth. My companions caught my unusual manner, 
they adopted my new phrases, they repeated my extra- 
ordinary apophthegms. Everything was viewed and done 
according to the new tone which I had introduced. It 
was decided that I was the wittiest, the most original, the 
most diverting of their society. A coterie of the congenial 
insensibly formed around me, and my example gradually 
ruled the choice spirits of our world. I even mingled in 
their games although I disliked the exertion, and in those 
in which the emulation was very strong I even excelled. 
My ambition conquered my nature. It seemed that I was 
the soul of the school. Wherever I went my name sounded, 
whatever was done my opinion was quoted. I was caressed, 
adored, idolised. In a word, I was popular. 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 25 

Yet sometimes I cangHt a flying moment to turn aside 
and contrast my present situation -with my past one. What 
was all this ? Was I the same being ? But my head was 
in a whirl, and I had not time or calmness to solve the 
perplexing inquiry. 

There was a boy and his name was Mussbus. He was 
somewhat my elder. Of a kind, calm, docile, mellow nature, 
moderate in everything, universally liked, but without the 
least influence, he was the serene favourite of the school. 
It seemed to me that I never beheld so lovely and so pen- 
sive a countenance. His face was quite oval, his eyes deep 
blue : his rich brown curls clustered in hyaointhine grace 
upon the delicate rose of his downy cheek, and shaded the 
light blue veins of his clear white forehead. 

I beheld him : I loved him. My Mendship was a passion. 
Of all our society he alone crowded not around me. He 
was of a cold temperament, shy and timid. He looked 
upon me as a being whom he could not comprehend, and 
rather feared. I was tinacquainted with his motives, and 
piqued with his conduct. I gave up my mind to the acquisi- 
tion of his acquaintance, and of course I succeeded. In 
Tain he endeavoured to escape. Wherever he moved, I 
seemed unintentionally to hover around him ; whatever he 
wanted, I seemed providentially to supply. In the few 
words that this slight intercourse called forth, I addressed 
him in a tone strange to our rough life ; I treated him with 
a courtesy which seemed to elevate our somewhat coarse 
condition. He answered nothing, was confused, thankful, 
agitated. He yielded to the unaccustomed tenderness of 
my manner, to the unwonted refinement of my address. 
He could not but feel the strange conviction that my con- 
duct to him was different from my behaviour to others, for 
in truth his presence ever subdued my spirit, and repressed 
my artificial and excited manner. 

Museeus was lowly bom, and I was noble ; he poor, and 




26 CONTAKINI FLEMING: 

I wealthy; I had a dazzling repntation, he bnt good report. 
To find himself an object of interest, of qxdet and tender 
regard, to one to whose notice all aspired, and who seemed 
to exist only in a blaze of cold hearted raillery and reckless 
repartee, developed even his dormant vaniiy. He looked 
upon me with interest, and this feeling soon matured into 
fondness. 

Oh ! days of rare and pnre felicity, when Mnssoiis and 
myself with onr arms aronnd each other's neck, wandered 
together amid the meads and shady woods that formed onr 
limits ! I lavished upon him all the fajiciful love that I had 
long stored up ; and the mighty passions that yet lay dor- 
mant in my obscure soul now first began to stir in their 
glimmering abyss. And, indeed, in conversing with this 
dear companion it was that I first began to catch some 
glimpses of my yet hidden nature : for the days of futurity 
were our usual topic, and in parcelling out their fortunes I 
unconsciously discovered my own desires. I was to be 
something great, and glorious, and dazzling ; but what, we 
could not determine. The camp and the senate, the sword 
and the scroll, that had raised and had destroyed so many 
states ; these were infinitely discussed. And then a life of 
adventure was examined, full of daring delight. One might 
be a corsair or a bandit. Foreign travel was what we could 
surely command, and must lead to much. I spoke to him, 
in the j^ilness of our sweet confidence, of the strangeness 
of my birth, and we marvelled together over mysterious 
Venice. And this led us to conspiracies, for which I fancied 
that I had a predisposition. But in all these scenes Mnsseus 
was to be never absent. He was to be my heart's friend 
from the beginning to the death. And I mourned that 
nature had given me no sister, with whom I could bind 
him to me by a still stronger and sweeter tie. And then, 
with a shy, hesitating voice, for he delighted not in talking 
of his home, he revealed to me that he was more blessed ; 



.A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 27 

and Caroline Mussbus rose np at once to me like a star, and 
without having seen her I was indeed her betrothed. 

Thus, during these bright days did I pour forth all the 
feelings I had long treasured up ; and in endeavouring to 
communicate my desires to another, I learnt to think. I 
ascended fix)m indefinite reverie to palpable cogitation. 

I was now seldom alone. To be the companion of Mussbus 
I participated in many pastimes, which otherwise I should 
have avoided, and in return he, although addicted to sports, 
was content, for my sake, to forego much former occupation. 
With what eagerness I rushed when the hour of study 
ceased, with what wild eagerness I rushed to resume our 
delicious converse ! Nor indeed was his image ever absent 
from me ; and when in the hour of school we passed each 
other, or our countenances chanced to meet, there was ever 
a sweet, faint smile, that, unmarked by others, interchanged 
our love. 

A love that I thought must last for ever, and for ever 
flow like a clear bright stream ; yet at times my irritable 
passions would disturb even these sweet waters. The tem- 
perament of Museeus was cold and slow. I was .at first 
proud of having interested his affection, but as our friend- 
ship grew apace, I was not contented with this calm sym- 
pathy and quiet regard. I required that he should respond 
to my affection with feelings not less ardent and energetic 
than mine own. I was sensitive, I was jealous. I found a 
savage joy in harrowing his heart ; I triumphed when I 
could draw a tear from his beautiful eye ; when I could 
urge him to unaccustomed emotion ; when I forced him to 
assure me, in a voice of agitation, that he loved me alone, 
and pray me to be pacified. 

From sublime torture to ridiculous teasing, too often 
Musaeus was my victim. One day I detected an incipient 
dislike to myself, or a growing affection for another ; then 
I passed him in gloomy silence, because his indispensable 



28 CONTARINI FLEMING : 

engagements bad obliged bim to refuse mj invitation to 
onr walk. But tbe letters witb wbicb I overwbebned bim 
nnder some of tbese contingencies ; tbese were tbe most 
violent infliction. Wbat pages of mad eloqnence ! solenm 
appeals, bitter sarcasms, infinite ebullitions of frantic sensi- 
bility. For tbe first time in my life I composed. I grew 
intoxicated witb my own eloquence. A new desire arose 
in my mind, novel aspirations wbicb tbrew ligbt npon old 
and ofben-experienced feelings. I began to ponder over tbe 
music of language ; I studied tbe collocation of sweet words, 
and constructed elaborate sentences in lonely walks. Poor 
MussBus quite sunk nnder tbe receipt of my efiusions. He 
could not write a line; and bad be indeed been able, it 
would bave been often difficult for bim to bave discovered 
tbe cause of our separations. Tbe brevity, tbe simplicity 
of bis answers were irresistible and beartrending. Yet 
tbese distractions brougbt witb tbem one cbarm, a cbarm 
to me so captivating, tbat I fear it was sometimes a cause ; 
reconciliation was, indeed, a love-feast. 

The sessions of our College closed. Tbe time came tbat 
MussDUS and myself must for a moment part ; bat for a 
moment, for I intended tbat be sbould visit me in our 
vacation, and we were also to write to eacb otber every 
week. Yet, even under tbese palliating circumstances, 
parting was anguisb. 

On tbe eve of tbe fatal day we took our last stroll in our 
fiavourite meads. Tbe wbole way I wept, and leant npon 
bis sboulder. Witb wbat jealous care I watcbed to see if 
be too sbed a tear ! One clear drop at lengtb came quiver- 
ing down bis cbeek, like dew upon a rose. I pardoned 
bim for its beauty. Tbe bell sounded. I embraced bim, as 
if it sounded for my execution, and we parted. 




A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCB. 29 



CHAPTER VIII. 

I WAS once more at home, once more silent, once more 
alone. I found myself changed, Mj obscure aspirations 
after some indefinite happiness, mj vague dreams of beauty, 
or palpable personifications of some violent fantastic idea, 
no longer inspired, no longer soothed, no longer haunted 
me. I thought only of one subject, which was full of earnest 
novelty, and abounded in interest, curious, serious, and en- 
grossing I speculated upon my own nature. My new life 
had developed many qualities, and had filled me with self- 
confidence. The clouds seemed to clear off from the dark 
landscape of my mind, and vast ambition might be distin- 
guished on the far horizon, rearing its head like a mighty 
column. My energies stirred within me, and seemed to 
pant for the struggle and the strife. A deed was ta be 
done, but what ? I entertained at this time a deep con- 
viction that life mu^t be intolerable unless I were the 
greatest of men. It seemed that I felt within me the power 
that could influence my kind. I longed to wave my inspir- 
ing sword at the head of armies, or dash into the very heat 
and blaze of eloquent faction. 

When I contrasted my feelings and my situation I grew 
mad. The constant jar between my conduct and my con- 
ceptions was intolerable. In imagination a hero, I was in 
reality a boy. I returned from a victorious field to be cri- 
ticised by a woman : in the very heart of a deep conspiracy, 
which was to change the fate of nations, to destroy Borne 
or to free Venice, I was myself the victim of each petty 
domestic regulation. I cannot describe the insane irrita- 
bility which all this produced. Infinite were the complaints 
of my rudeness, my violence, my insufferable impertinence, 
incessant the threats of pains and penalties. It was uni- 
versally agreed that college had ruined me. A dull, slow 



30 CONTABISI FLEMING: 

boy I had always been ; bat, at least, I was tokrabl j kind 
and docile. Xow, as mj tutor's report correctlj oextified, 
I was not improved in intellect, and all witnessed the hor- 
liUe deterioration of m j manners and m j morals. 

The Baroness was in despair. After several smart aldii- 
TOialifta^ we at length had a regular pitched battle. 

She began onr delightfol colloqnj in the troe style of 
domestic reprimand ; dnll, dron j nonsense, adapted, as I 
should hope, to no state in which human intellect can ever 
be found, even if it have received the fiodl benefit of the 
infomal tuition of nurses, which would be onl j ridicnlons, 
if its effects were not so &tallj and permanently injuriofus. 
She told me that whenever I spoke I should speak in a low 
Toioe, and that I should never think for myself; that if 
anything were refused I should be contented, and never 
ask the reason why, because it was not proper ever to ask 
questions, particularly whm we were sure that eveiytliing 
was done for our good ; that I should do everything that 
was bidden, and always be ready to confonn to everybody's 
desires, because at my age no one should have a will of his 
own ; that I should never, on any account, presume to give 
my opinion, because it was quite iiEpoasihle that ooe so 
young could have one ; that on no account, also^ should I 
ever be irritable, which never could be permitted : but she 
never considered that every effect has a cause, and never 
attempted to discover what might occasion this irritability. 
In this sDly, superficial way she went on for some time^ 
repeating dull axioms by rote, and oflfering to me the same 
useless advice that had been equally thrown away upon the 
tender minds of her generation. 

She said all this, all this to me, all this to one irlio a 
moment befoi^s was a Caesar, an Alcibiades. Xow I had 
lon£r br>x>ded over the connexion that subsisted between 
mvself and this ladv. I had lonsr formed in mv mind, and 
caught up firom K>oks, a conception of the relations which 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL KOMANCE. 31 

mnst exist between a step-mother and her unwelcome son. 
I was therefore prepared. She grew pale as I described in . 
mad heroics our exact situation. She had no idea that any 
people, under any circumstances, could be influenced by 
such violent, such wicked, such insane sentiments. She 
stared in stupid astonishment at my terrible and unex- 
pected fluency. She entirely lost her presence of mind 
and burst into tears, tears not of affection, but of absolute 
fright, the hysteric offspring of a cold, alarmed, puzzled 
mind. 

She vowed she would tell my father. I inquired with 
a malignant sneer, of what ? She protested she certainly 
would tell. I dilated on the probability of a stepdame's 
tale. Most certainly she would tell. I burst into a dark, 
foaming rage. I declared that I would leave the house, 
that I would leave the country, that I would submit no 
longer to my intolerable life, that suicide (and here I kicked 
down a chair) should bring me immediate relief. The 
Baroness was terrified out of her life. The fall of the chair 
was the perfection of fear. She was one of those women 
who have the highest respect for furniture. She could not 
conceive a human being, much less a boy, voluntarily kick- 
ing down a chair, if his feelings were not very keen indeed. 
It was becoming too serious. She tried to soothe me. She 
would not speak to my father. All should be right, all 
should be forgotten, if I only would not commit suicide, 
and not kick down the chairs. '"■• 

Afber some weeks Muesbus paid his long-meditated visit. 
I had never, until I invited him, answered his solitary letter. 
I received him with a coldness which astonished me, and 
must have been apparent to any one but himself. I was 
distressed by the want of unction in my manner, and tried 
to compensate by a laboured hospitality which, Hke ice, 
was dazzling but frigid. Many causes perhaps conduced 
to occasion this change, then inscrutable to me. Since we 



32 CONTARINI FLEMINO: 

had parted I had indulged in lofty ideas of self^ and some- 
times remembered, with a feeling approaching to disgastfnl 
mortification, the inflnence which had been exercised OTer 
me by a fellow child. The reminiscence savonred too much 
of boyish weakness, and painfully belied my prond theoiy 
of universal superiority. At home, too, when the permis- 
sion for the invitation was accorded, there was much dis- 
cussion as to the quality of the invited. Th^ wished to 
know who he was, and when informed looked rather grave. 
Some caution was muttered about the choice of my com- 
panions. Even my father, who seldom spoke to me, seemed 
alarmed at the prospect of a bad connexion. His intense 
worldliness Yf3s shocked. He talked to me for an unusual 
time upon the subject of school friendships, and his con- 
versation, which was rare, made an impression. All this 
influenced me, for at that age I was of course the victim of 
every prejudice. Must I add to all this, what is perhaps 
the sad and dreary truth, that in loving all this time 
MussBus with such devotion, I was in truth rather ena- 
moured of the creature of my imagination than the com- 
{)anion of my presence. Upon the foundation which he 
had suppHed I had built a beautiful and enchanted palace. 
Unceasing intercourse was a necL3sary ingredient to the 
spelL We parted, and the fairy &bric dissolved into the 
clouds. 

Certain it is that his visit was a feulure. Musams was 
too little sensitive to feel the change of my manner, and my 
duty as bis host impelled me to conceal it. But the change 
was great. He appeared to me to have fallen off very 
much in his beauty. The Baroness thought him a little 
coarse, and praised the complexion of her own children, 
which was like chalk. Then he wanted constant attention, 
for it was evident that he had no resources of his own and 
certainly he was not very refined. Bat he was pleased, for 
ho was in a new world. For the first time in his life he 



( 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL «Q]MtA|^CE. 33 '* 



i^ 



moyed in theatres and saloons, and mingled in the splen- 
dour of high civilisation. I took him everywhere ; in fact 
I could bear everything but to be alone with him. So 
he passed a very pleasant fortnight and tben quitted us. 
How different from our last parting ! Cheerful indeed it 
was, and, in a degree, cordial. I extended him my hand 
with a patronising air, and mimicking the hoUow courtesy 
of maturer beings, I expressed, in a flimsy voice of affected 
regard, a wish that he might visit us again. And six weeks 
before I had loved this boy better than myself, would have 
perilled for him my life, and shared with him my fortune ! 



CHAPTER IX. 



I BETUBNED to College gloomy and depressed. Not that I 
cared for quitting home : I hated home. I returned in the 
fdlness of one of my dark humours, and which promised to 
be one of the most terrible visitations that had ever fallen 
upon me. Indeed, existence was intolerable, and I should 
have killed myself had I not been supported by my ambition, 
which now each day became more quickening, so that the 
desire of distinction and of astounding action raged in my 
soul ; and when I recollected that, at the soonest, many years 
must elapse before I could realise my ideas, I gnashed my 
teeth in silent rage, and cursed my existence. 

I cannot picture the astonishment that pervaded our 
little socieiy, when they found the former hero of their 
gaiety avoiding all contact and conversation, and. always 
moving about in gloomy silence. It was at first supposed 
that some great misfortune had happened to me, and 6n- 
quiries were soon*afloat, but nothing could^ be ^di^covered. 
At length one of my former prime companions, I should 
say, perhaps, patrons, expostulated with me upon the 







34 CONTAEINI ELEMINe: 

subject : I assured him, with grim courtesy, that nothing 
had happened, and wished him good morning. As for 
Mnsseus, I jnst contrived to greet him the first day with a 
£unt, agonising smile, and ever after I shunned him. No- 
thing conld annoy Mussens long, and he woidd soon have 
forgotten his pain, as he had already, perhaps, freed his 
memory from any vivid recollection of the former pleasure 
which onr friendship had nndoubtedly brought him. He 
welcomed enjoyment with a sndle, and was aJmost as cheer- 
frl when he should have been much less pleased. 

But although Musasus was content to be thus quiet, the 
world in which he lived determined that he should be less 
phlegmatic. As they had nothing better to do, they took 
his quarrel upon themselves. ' He certainly has behaved 
in&mously to Mussbus. You know they were always 
together. I wonder what it can be ! As for the rest of the 
school, that is in comparison nothing; but Musaeus, you 
know they were decided cronies. I never knew fellows 
more together. I wonder what it can be ! If I were Mu- 
sseus I certainly would come to an explanation. We must 
put him up to it. If Mus8Bus asks hiTn he cannot refuse, 
and then we shall know what it is aU about.' 

They at length succeeded in beating it into poor Musseus' 
head, that he had been very ill-treated and must be very 
unhappy, and they uj^ed him to insist upon an explanation. 
But Musaeus was no hand at demanding explanation ; and 
he deputed the task to a friend. 

I was alone, sitting on a gate, in a part of the grounds 
which was generally least frequented, when I heard a shout 
which, although I could not guess its cause, sounded in my 
ear with something of a menacing and malignant expression. 
The whole school, headed by the deputy, were finding me 
out, in order that the important question might be urged, 
that the honour of Musaeus might be supported, and their 
own curiosity gratified. 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 35 

Now at that age, whatever I may be now, I could not be 
driven. A soft word, and I was an Abel ; an appearance of 
force, and I scowled a Cain. Had Mnssans, instead of 
being a most common-place character, which assuredly he 
was, had it been in his nature to have struck out a single 
spark of ardent feeling, to have indulged in a single sigh of 
sentiment, he might perhaps yet have been my Mend. His 
appeal might have freed me from the domination of the 
black spirit, and in weeping over our reconciliation upon 
his sensitive bosom, I might have been emancipated from 
its horrid thrall. But. the moment that Mussbus sought to 
influence my private feelings by the agency of public 
opinion, he became to me, instead of an object of indiffer- 
ence, an object of disgust ;. and only not of hatred, because 
of contempt. 

I did not like the shout; and when, at a considerable 
distance, I saw them advancing towards the gate with an 
eager run, I was almost tempted to retire : but I had never 
yet flinched in the course of my life, and the shame which 
I now felt at the contemplation of such an act impelled me 
to stay. 

They arrived, and gathered round me ; they did not 
know how to commence their great busiiiess : breathless 
and agitated, they looked first at their embarrassed leader 
and then at me. 

When I had waited a sufficient time for my dignity, I 
rose to quit the place. 

' We want you, Fleming,' said the chief. 

' Well ! ' and I turned round and faced the speaker. 

* I tell you what, Fleming,' said he, in a rapid, nervous 
style, * you may think yourself a very great man ; but we do 
not exactly understand the way you are going on. There 
is Mus89us ; you and he were the greatest friends last half, 
and now you do not speak to him, nor to any one else. 
And we all think that you should give an explanation of 

^D 2 



k 



36 CONTARINI FLEMING : 

your conduct. And, in short, we come liere to know wliat 
you have got to say for yourself/ 

* Do you ! ' I answered with a sneer. 

* Well, what have you got to say?' he continued, in a 
firmer voice and more peremptory tone. 

* Say ! say that either you or I must leave this gate. I 
was here first, but as you are the largest number, I suppose 
I must yield.' 

I turned my heel upon him, and moved. Some one 
hissed. I returned, and enquired in a calm, mild voice, 

* Who hissed?' 

I^ow the person who hissed was a boy, who was indeed 
my match in years, and perhaps in force, but a great 
coward. I knew it was he, because he was just the fellow 
who would hiss, and looked quite pale when I asked the 
question. Besides, no one answered it, and he was almost 
the only boy who, under such circumstances, would have 
been silent. 

* Are you a&aid to own it ? ' I asked, in a contemptuous 
tone, but still subdued. . 

This great mob of nearly two hundred boys were very 
much ashamed at the predicament in which their officious 
and cowardly member had placed them. So their leader, 
proud in a fine frame, a great and renowned courage, un- 
rivalled achievements in combat, and two years of su- 
periority in age over myself, advanced a little, and said, 

* Suppose I hissed, what then ? ' 

* What then ! ' I exclaimed, in a voice of thunder, and 
with an eye of lightning, * What then ! Why, then, I 
would thrash you.' 

There was an instantaneous flutter and agitation, and 
panting monosyllabic whisper in the crowd ; they were 
like birds, when the hawk is first detected in airy distance. 
Unconsciously, they withdrew like waves, and, the arena 
being cleared, my opponent and I were left in opposition. 
Apparently there never was a more unequal match; but 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 37 

indeed lie was not fighting with Contarini Fleming, but 
with a demon that had usurped his shape. 

' Come on, then,' he replied, with brisk confidence. 

And I came, as the hail npon the tall com. I flew at him 
like a wild beast ; I felt not his best blow, I beat down his 
fine guard, and I sent him to the ground, stunned and giddy. 

He was up again in a moment ; and indeed I would not 
have waited for their silly rules of mock combat, but have 
destroyed him in his prostration. But he was up again in a 
moment. Again I flew upon him. He fought with subtle 
energy, but he was like a serpent with a tiger. I fixed 
upon him: my blows told with the rapid precision of 
machinery. His bloody visage was not to be distinguished. 
I believe he was terrified by my frantic air. 

I would never wait between the rounds. I cried out in 
a voice of madness for him to come on. There was breath- 
less silence. They were thunderstruck. They were too 
generous to cheer their leader. They could not refrain j&x)m 
sympathising with inferior force and unsupported courage. 
Each time that he came forward I made the same dreadfal 
spring, beat down his guard, and never ceased working 
upon his head, until at length my fist seemed to enter his 
very brain ; and after ten rounds he fell down quite blind. 
I never felt his blows ; I never lost my breath. 

He could not come to time ; I rushed forward ; I placed 
my knee upon his chest. * I fight no more,' he faintly cried. 

* Apologise,' I exclaimed ; * apologise.' He did not speak. 

* By heavens, apologise,' I said, * or I know not what I 
shall do.' 

* Never ! ' he replied. 

I lifted up my arm. Some advanced to interfere. * Off,' 
I shouted; * Off, off.' I seized the fallen chief, rushed 
through the gate, and dragged him like Achilles through 
the mead. At the bottom there was a dunghill. Upon it 
I flung the half inanimate body. 



38 CONTARINI FLEMING-: 



CHAPTER X. 

I STROLLED awaj to one of my &YOiirite haxmis ; I was 
calm and exhausted : my face and hands were smeared with 
gore. I knelt down by the side of the stream, and drank 
the most delicious draught that I had ever qua£Eed. I 
thought that I should never have ceased. I felt invigorated, 
and a plunge in the river completed my renovation. 

I recHned under a branching oak, and moralised on the 
past. For the £b*st time in my life I had acted. Hitherto 
I had been a creature of dreams ; but within the last month 
unconsciously I found myself a stirrer in existence. I per- 
ceived that I had suddenly become a responsible agent. 
There were many passions, many characters, many incidents. 
Love, hatred, faction, vengeance,Mu5a9us, myself, my anta- 
gonist, his followers, who were indeed a world ; our soft 
walks, the hollow visit, the open breach, the organised party, 
the great and triumphant struggle. 

And as I mused, all these beings flitted across my vision, 
and all that had passed was again present, and again per- 
formed, except indeed that my part in the drama was of a 
more studied and perfect cast ; for I was conscious of much 
that had been omitted both in conversation and in conduct, 
of much that might have been finely expressed and dexte- 
rously achieved. And to introduce all this I indulged in 
imaginary scenes. There was a long interview between 
myself and Mussbus, harrowing; a logomachy between 
myself and the chief of the faction, pungent. I became so 
excited that I could no longer restrain the outward ex- 
pression of my feeling. My voice broke into impassioned 
tones ; I audibly uttered the scomfal jest. My countenance 
was in harmony with my speech; my action lent a more 
powerfiil meaning to my words. 

And suddenly there was a great change, the order of 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 39 

which I cannot trace ; for Musbbus, though he looked upon 
me, was not Mussbus, bnt a youth in a distant land ; and I 
was there in a sumptuous dress, with a brilliant star ; and 
we were friends. And a beautiful woman rose up, a blend- 
ing of Christiana and Egeria. Both of us loved her, and 
she yielded herself to me, and Musseus fled for aid. And 
there came a king with a great power, and as I looked upon 
his dazzling crown, lo ! it encircled the brow of my late 
antagonist. 

And I beheld and felt aU this growing and expanding 
life with a bliss so keen, so ravishing, that I can compare 
it to nothing but to joys which I was then too young even 
to anticipate. My brain seemed to melt into a liquid, rush- 
ing stream ; my blood quickened into action, too qxdck even 
to recognise pulsation ; fiery and fleet, yet deUcate and soft. 
With difl&culty I breathed, yet the oppression was delicious. 
But in vain I endeavour to paint the refined excitement of 
this first struggle of my young creation. 

The drama went on, nor was it now in my power to 
restrain it. At length, oppressed with the vitality of the 
beings I had formed, dazzled with the shifting brilliancy of 
the scenes in which they moved, exhausted with the mar- 
vellous action of my shadowy self, who figured before me 
in endless exploit, now struggling, now triumphing, now 
pouring forth his soul in sentences of burning love, now 
breathing a withering blast of proud defiance, I sought for 
means to lay the wild ghosts that I had unconsciously 
raised. 

I lifted my hand to my face, that had been gazing all this 
time in fixed abstraction upon a crimson cloud. There was 
a violent struggle which I did not comprehend. Everything 
was chaos ; but soon, as it were, a mystic music came rising 
out of the incongruous mass ; a mighty secret was revealed 
to me, all was harmony, and order, and repose, and beauty. 
The whirling scene no longer changed; there was universal 



40 CONTAKINI FLEMING : 

stillness ; and the wild beings ceased their fierce action, and, 
bending down before me in humility, proffered their homage 
to their creator. 

* Am I, then,' I exclaimed, looking around with an asto- 
nished and vacant air, * Am I then, after all, a poet ? ' 

I sprang up, I paced up and down before the tree, but 
not in thought. The perspiration ran down my forehead, 
I trembled, I panted, I was lost. I was not conscious of 
my existence. My memory deserted me, the rudder of my 
mind broke away. 

My thought came back ; I threw myself on the ground. 
* Yes,' I exclaimed, 'beautiftd beings, I will release you from 
the prison-house of my brain ! I will give you to freedom 
and to light ! You shall exist not only for me, you shall 
go forth to the world to delight and to conquer.' 

And this was the first time in my life that the idea of 
Uterary creation occurred to me ; for I disliked poetry, of 
which indeed I had read little, except plays ; and although 
I took infinite delight in prose fiction, it was only because 
the romance or the novel offered to me a life more congenial 
to my feelings than the world in which I lived. But the 
conviction of this day threw light upon my past existence. 
My imaginary deeds of conquest, my heroic aspirations, my 
long, dazzling dreams of fanciful adventure, were, perhaps, 
but sources of ideal action ; that stream of eloquent and 
choice expression which seemed ever flowing in my ear, 
was probably intended to be directed in a different channel 
from human assemblies, and might melt or kindle the pas- 
sions of mankind in silence. And the visions of beauty and 
the vows of love ; were they, too, to gHtter and to glow 
only in imagination ? 



A PSYCHOLOaiCAL EOMANCE. 41 



CHAPTER XI. 

I BEPAIEED the next day to my favourite tree, armed with a 
pencil and a paper book. My mind was, as I thought, 
teeming with ideas. I had composed the first sentence of 
my work in school-time ; it seemed to me full of music. I 
had repeated it a thousand times ; I was enchanted with 
its euphony. It was now written, fairly written. With 
rapture I perceived it placed in its destined position. But 
what followed ? Nothing. In vain I rubbed my forehead ; 
in vain I summoned my fancies. The traitors would not 
listen. My mind seemed fall to the very brink, but not a 
drop of the rich stream overflowed. I became amdous, 
nervous, fretful. I walked about ; I reseated myself. Again 
I threw down the pencil, and was like a man disenchanted. 
I could scarcely recall the visions of yesterday, and if with 
an effort I succeeded, they appeared cold, tame, dull, life- 
less. Nothing can describe my blank despair. 

They know not, they cannot tell, the cold, dull world ; 
they caimot even remotely conceive the agony of doubt and 
despair which is the doom of youthful genius. To sigh for 
fame in obscurity is like sighing in a dungeon for light ; 
yet the votary and the captive share an equal hope. But, 
to feel the strong necessity of fame, and to be conscious that 
without intellectual excellence life must be insupportable, 
to feel all this with no simultaneous faith in your own 
power, these are moments of despondency for which no im- 
mortality can compensate. 

As for myself, repeated experiments only brought repeated 
failures. I would not die without a struggle, but I strug- 
gled only to be vanqxdshed. One day was too hot ; another 
I fancied too cold. Then, again, I was not well, or perhaps 
I was too anxious ; I would try only a sentence each day. 
The trial was most mortifying, for I found, when it came 



42 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

to this practical test, tliat in fact I had nothing to imte 
about. Yet my mind had been so fuM ; and even now a 
spark, and it would again light np ; but the flame never 
kindled, or, if ever 1 fanned an appearance of heat, I was 
sure only to extinguish it. Why could I not express what 
I seemed to feel ? All was a mystery. 

I was most wretched . I wandered about in great distress, 
for my pride was deeply wounded, and I could no longer 
repose on my mind with confident solace. My spirit was 
quite broken. Had I fought my great battle now I sliGuld 
certainly have been beaten. I was distracted with dis- 
quietude ; I had no point of refuge, hope utterly vanished. 
It was impossible that I could be anything ; I must alvirays 
fail. I hated to think of myself; the veriest dunce in the 
school seemed my superior. I grew meek and dull. I learnt 
my dry lessons ; I looked upon a grammar with a feeling of 
reverence. My lexicon was constantly before me; but I 
made little advance. I no longer ascribed my ill progress 
to the uninteresting task, but to my own incapacity. I 
thought myself once more, half a fool. 



CHAPTEE Xn. 



Had I now been blessed with a philosophic Mend, I might 
have found consolation and assistance ; but my instructors, 
to whom I had a right to look up for this aid, were, of course, 
wanting. The system which they pursued taught them to 
consider their pupils as machines, which were to ftdfil a 
certain operation, and this operation was word-leami.ig. 
They attempted not to discover, or to develop, or to fcrm 
character. Predisposition was to them a dark oracle ; or- 
ganisation a mystery in which they were not initiated. 
The human mind was with them always the same soil, and 
one to which they brought ever the same tillage. And mine 



A PSYCHOLOaiCAL KOMANCE. 43 

was considered a sterile one, for they found that their thistles 
did not flourish where they should have planted roses. 

I was ever considered a lazy, idle boy, because I required 
ideas instead of words. I never would make any further 
exertion than would save me from their punishments: their 
rewards I did not covet. Yet I was ever reading, and in 
general knowledge was immeasurably superior to all the 
stjo-dents; for aught I know, to all the tutors; for indeed, 
in any chance observations in which they might indulge, I 
could even then perceive that they were individuals of 
limited intelligence. They spoke sometimes of great men, 
I suppose for our emulation; but their great men were 
always commentators. They sometimes burst into an eu- 
logium of a great work ; you might be sure it was ever a 
huge bunch of annotations. An unrivalled exploit turned 
out to be a happy conjecture ; a marvellous deed was the 
lion's skin that covered the ears of a new reading. I was 
confounded to hear the same epithets applied to their 
obscure demigods that I associated with the names of Cassar 
and Socrates, and Pericles, and Cicero. It was perplexing 
to find that Pharsalia or a Philippic, the groves of Acade- 
mus or the fiines of the Acropolis, could receive no higher 
admiration than was lavished upon the unknown exploits 
of a hunter after syllables. 

After my battle I was never annoyed by my former friends. 
As time advanced I slightly relaxed in my behaviour, and 
when it was necessary we interchanged words ; but I never 
associated with any one. I was, however, no longer mo- 
lested. An idea got afloat that I was not exactly in my 
perfect senses ; and, on the whole, I was rather feared than 
disKked. 

Beading was my only resource. I seldom indulged in 
reverie. The moment that I perceived my mind wandering, 
I checked it with a mixed feeling of disgust and terror. I 
made, however, during this period, more than one attempt 



44 CONTAKINI FLEMING: 

to write, and always with signal discomfiture. Neither of 
the projected subjects in any way grew out of my own 
character, however they might have led to its delineation 
had I proceeded. The first was a theme of heroic life, in 
which I wished to indulge in the gorgeousness of remote 
antiquity. I began with a fine description, which again 
elevated my hopes, but when the scene was fairly painted 
niy actors would not come on. I flung the sheet into the 
river, and cursed my repeated idiocy. 

After an exposure of this kind I always instantaneously 
became practical, and grave, and stupid ; as a man, when 
he recovers from intoxication, vows that he will never again 
taste wine. Nevertheless, during the vacation, a pretty 
little German lady unfortunately one night took it into her 
head to narrate some of the traditions of her country. 
Among these I heard, for the first time, the story of the 
Wild Huntsman of Rodenstein. It was unlucky. The 
Baroness, who was a fine instrumental musician, but who 
would never play when I requested her, chanced this night 
to be indulging us. The mystery and the music combined 
their seductive spells, and I was agaiu enchanted. Infinite 
characters and ideas seemed rushing in my mind. I recol- 
lected that I had never yet given my vein a trial at home. 
Here I could command silence, solitude, hours unbroken 
and undisturbed. I walked up and down the room, once 
more myself. The music was playful, gay, and joyous. A 
village dance was before my vision ; I marked with delight 
the smiling peasantry bounding under the clustering vines, 
the girls crowned with roses, the youth adorned with flowing 
ribbons. Just as a venerable elder advanced the sounds 
became melancholy, wild, and ominous. I was in a deep 
forest, full of doubt and terror ; the wind moaned, the big 
branches heaved ; in the distance I heard the baying of a 
hound. It did not appear, for suddenly the trumpet an- 
nounced a coming triumph ; I felt that a magnificent 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 45 

procession was approaching, that each moment it would 
appear ; each moment the music became louder, and already 
an advanced and splendid guard appeared in the distance. 
I caught a flashing glimpse of a sea of waving plumes and 
glistening arms. The music ceased, the procession vanished, 
I fell from the clouds ; I found myself in a dull drawing- 
room, a silly boy, very exhausted. 

I felt so excessively stupid that I instantly gave up all 
thoughts of the Hunter of Eodenstein, and went to bed 
gloomy and without hope. But in the morning, when I 
rose, the sun was shining so softly, the misiy trees and the 
dewy grass were so tender and so bright, the air was so 
fresh and fragrant, that my first feeling was the desire of 
composition, and I walked forth into the park cheerful, 
and moved by a rising faith. 

The exciting feelings of the evening seemed to return, 
and, when I had sufficiently warmed my mind -^th reverie, 
I sat down to my table surrounded by every literary luxury 
that I could remember. Ink enclosed in an ormulu Cupid, 
clear and brilliant, quires of the softest cream-coloured 
paper, richly gilt, and a perfect magazine of the finest pens. 
I was exceedingly nervous, but on the whole not unsuc- 
cessful. I described a young traveller arriving at night at 
a small inn on the borders of a Bohemian forest. I did not 
allow a single portion of his dress to escape, and even his 
steed and saddle-bags duly figured. The hostess was 
founded on our housekeeper, therefore I was master of my 
subject. IVom her ear-rings to her shoe-buckles all was 
perfect. I managed to supply my hero with a supper, and 
at length I got him, not to bed, but to his bed-room, for 
heroes do not get into bed, even when wearied, with the 
expedition of more commonplace characters. On the con- 
trary, he first opened the window (it was a lattice- window) 
and looked at the moon. I had a fine moonlight scene. 
I well remember that the trees were tipped with silver, but 



46 CONTAKINI FLEMING: 

oh ! trinmpli of art, for the first time in my life I acliieYed 
a simile, and the evening breeze came sonnding in Ms ear 
sofb as a lover's sigh ! 

This last master-tonch was too mnch for me. Breathless, 
and indeed ezhansted, I read over the chapter. I conld 
scarcely believe its existence possible. I rushed into the 
park, and hurried to some solitude where, undisturbed by 
the sight of a human being, I could enjoy my intense 
existence. 

I was so agitated, I was in such a tumnlt of felicity, that 
for the rest of the day I could not even think. I conld not 
find even time to determine on my hero's name, or to ascer- 
tain the reason for which I had brought him to snch a 
wild scene, and placed him in such exceedingly nncomfort- 
able lodgings. The next morning I had recovered my 
self-possession. Calm and critical, I reviewed the warm 
product of my brain which had the preceding day so &8ci- 
nated me. It appeared to me that it had never been my 
unfortunate fate to read more crude, rugged, silly stuff in 
the whole course of my experience. The description of 
costume, which I had considered so perfect, sounded like 
a catalogue of old clothes. As for the supper, it was 
evident that so lifeless a personage could never have an 
appetite. What he opened 'the window for I know not; 
but certainly, if only to look at the moon he mnst have 
been disappointed, for in spite of all my asseverations, it was 
very dim indeed ; and as for the lover's sigh, at the same 
time so tame and so forced, it was absolutely sickening. 

I threw away the wretched eiSusion ; the beantiful ink- 
stand, the cream-coloured paper, the fine pens, away they 
were all crammed in a drawer, which I was ever after 
ashamed to open. I looked out of the window, and saw the 
huntsman going out. I called to him, and joined him. I 
hated field-sports, indeed every bodily exertion, except 
ridiog, which is scarcely one; but now anything that 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL KOMANCE. 47 

was bodily, that was practical, pleased, and I was soon 
slaughtering birds in the very bowers in which I had loved 
Egeria. 

On the whole, this was a miserable and wretched year. I 
was almost always depressed, often felt heart-broken. I 
entirely lost any confidence in my own energies, and while 
I was deprived of the sonrces of pleasnre which I had been 
used to derive from reverie, I could acquire no new ones in 
the pursuits of those around me. 

It was in this state of mind that, after a long and solitary 
walk, I found myself at a village which I had never before 
visited. On the skirts was a small Gothic building, beau- 
tiful and ancient. It was evening. The building was illu- 
minated ; the door open. I entered, and found myself in a 
Catholic church. A Lutheran in a Lutheran country, for a 
moment I trembled ; but the indifference of my father on 
the subject of religion had prevented me at least from being 
educated a bigot ; and, in my Venetian meditations, I would 
sometimes recollect that my mother must have professed 
the old faith. 

The church was not very frill ; groups were kneeling in 
several parts. All was dusk except at the high altar. 
There, a priest in a flaming vest officiated, and ever and 
anon a kneeling boy, in a scarlet dress, rang a small and 
musical silver bell. Many tall white candles, in golden 
sticks, illuminated the sacred table, redolent of perfumes 
and adorned with flowers. Six large burnished lamps were 
suspended above, and threw a magical light upon a magical 
picture. It was a Magdalen kneeling and weeping in a 
garden. Her long golden hair was drawn off her ivory 
forehead, and reached to the ground. Her large blue eyes, 
full of ecstatic melancholy, pierced to heaven, while the 
heavy tears studded like pearls her wan but delicate cheek. 
Her clasped hands embraced a crucifix. 

I gazed upon this pictured form witli a strange fasci- 



48 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

nation. I came forward, and placed myself near the altar. 
At that moment the organ burst forth, as if heaven were 
opening ; clouds of incense rose and wreathed around the 
rich and vaulted roof; the priest advanced, and revealed a 
God, which I fell down and worshipped. From that moment 
I became a Catholic. 



CHAPTER Xm. 

There was a mystery in the secret creed full of delight. 
Another link, too, seemed broken in the chain that bound 
me to the country which each day I more detested. Adora- 
tion also was ever a resource teeming with rapture, for a 
creed is imagination. The Magdalen succeeded to Chris- 
tiana and to Egeria. Each year my mistress seemied to 
grow more spiritual, first reality, then fancy, now pure 
spirit : a beautiful woman, a mystical nymph, a canonised 
soul. How was this to end ? Perhaps I was ultimately 
designed for angehc intercourse, perhaps I might mount 
the skies with the presiding essence of a star. 

My great occupations were devout meditation and solitary 
prayer. I inflicted upon myself many penances. I scru- 
pulously observed every fast. My creative power was 
exercised in the production of celestial visitants ; my thirst 
for expression gratified in infinite invocation. Wherever 
I moved I perceived tLe flashing of a white wing, the 
streaming of radiant hair ; however I might apparently be 
employed, I was, in fact, pondering over the music of my 
next supplication. 

One mundane desire alone mingled with these celestial 
aspirations, and in a degree sprang out of their indulgence. 
Each day I languisLed more for Italy. It was a strong 
longing. Nothing but the liveliness of my faith could 
have solaced and supported me under the want of its 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 49 

gratification, I pined for the land where the true religion 
flourished in becoming glory, the land where I should be- 
hold temples worthy of the beautiful mysteries which were 
celebrated within their sumptuous waUs, the land which 
the Vicar of God and the Ruler of Kings honoured and 
sanctified by his everlasting presence. A pilgrimage to 
Rome occupied my thoughts. 

My feivourite retreat now, when at the college, was to 
the ruins oLa Gothic abbey, whither an hour's stroll easily 
carried me. It pleased me much to sit among these beau- 
tiful relics, and call back the days when their sanctity was 
nndefiled, and their loveliness unimpaired. As I looked 
upon the rich framework of the eastern window, my fancy 
lent perfection to its shattered splendour. I beheld it once 
more beaming with its saints and martyrs, and radiant with 
chivalric blazonry. My eye wandered down the moulder- 
ing cloisters. I pictured a procession of priests solenmly 
advancing to the high altar, and blending in sacred melody, 
with their dark garments and their shining heads, elevating 
a golden and gigantic crosier, and waving on high a 
standard of Madonna. 

One day as I was indulging in these soothing visions I 
heard a shout, and looking round, I observed a man seated 
at no great distance, who by his action had evidently 
called to me. I arose, and coming out of the ruins ad- 
vanced to him. He was seated on a mass of ancient brick- 
work, and appeared to be sketching. He was a tall man, 
fair and blue-eyed, but sun-burnt. He was hawk-nosed, 
with a quick glancing vision, and there was an air of acute- 
ness in his countenance which was striking. His dress 
was not the dress of our country, but I was particularly 
pleased with his cap, which was of crimson cloth, with a 
broad border of fur, and fell on one side of his head like a 
cap in a picture. 

' My little man,' said he, in a brisk clear voice, * I am 

E 



50 CONTAEINI FLEMING: 

sorry to disturb you, but as probably you know this place 
better than I, you can, perhaps, tell me whether there be a 
spring at hand.' 

' Indeed, sir, a famous one, for I have often drunk its 
water, which is most sweet, and clear, and cold; and if 
you will permit me, I will lead you to it.' 

' With all my heart, and many thanks, my little Mend.' 
So saying, he rose, and placing his portfolio under one 
arm, lifted up a knapsack, which I offered to carry. 

' By no means, kind sir,' said he in a cheerful voice, ' I 
am ever my own servant.' 

So leading hiTn on round the other side of the abbey, 
and thence through a smaU but fragrant mead, I bronght 
him to the spring of which I had spoken. Over it was 
built a small but fair arch, the key-stone being formed 
of a mitred escutcheon, and many parts covered with 
thick ivy. 

The eye of the stranger kindled with pleasure when he 
looked upon the arch ; and then, sitting down upon the 
bank and opening his knapsack, he took out a large loaf 
and broke it, and as I was retiring he said, ' Prithee do 
not go, my little firiend, but stop and share my meal. It 
is rough, but there is plenty. Nay, revise not, little gentle- 
man, for I wish to prolong our acquaintance. In not more 
than as many minutes you have conferred upon me two 
favours. In this world such characters are rare. You 
have given me that which I love better than wine, and you 
have furnished me with a diviue sketch, for indeed this 
arch is of a finer style than any part of the great building, 
and must have been erected by an abbot of grand taste, 
I warrant you. Come, little gentleman, eat, prithee eat.' 

* Indeed, sir, I am not hungry ; but if you would let me 
look at your drawing of the abbey, I should be delighted.' 

* What, dost love art ? What ! have I stumbled upon a 
Httle artist ! ' 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 51 

' 1^0, sir, I cannot draw, nor indeed do I tmderstand art^ 
but I love everytMng which is beautiful.' 

* Ah ! a comprehensive taste,' and he gave me the port- 
folio. 

* Oh ! ' I exclaimed, ' how beautifal ! ' for the drawing 
turned out, not as I had anticipated, a lean skeleton pencil 
sketch, but one rapidly and richly coloured. The abbey 
rose as in reality, only more beautiful, being suffused with 
a warm light, for he had dashed in it a sunset foil of 
sentiment. 

* Oh ! sir, how beautifal ! I could look at it for ever. 
It seems to me that some one must come forth from the 
pass of those blue mountains. Cannot you fancy some 
bright cavalier, sir, with a flowing plume, or even a string 
of mules, even that would be delicious ? ' 

* Bravo ! bravo ! my little man,' exclaimed the stranger 
shooting a sharp scrutinising side glance. * You deserve 
to see sketches. There ! undo that strap and open the 
folio, for there are many others, and some which may please 
you more.' 

I opened it as if I were about to enter a sanctuary. It 
was very fiill, I culled a drawing which appeared the 
most richly coloured, as one picks the most glowing fruit. 
There seemed a river, and many marble palaces on each 
side, and long, thin, gliding boats shooting in every part, 
and over the stream there sprang a bridge, a bridge with a 
single arch, an ancient and solemn bridge, covered with 
buildings. I gazed upon the scene for a moment with 
breathless interest, a tear of agitating pleasure stole down 
my cheek, and then I shouted, ' Venice ! Venice ! ' 

' Little man,' said the stranger, * what is the matter ? ' 

' O ! sir, I beg your pardon, you must think me very 

foolish indeed. I am sure I did not mean to call out, but 

I have been longing all my life to go to Venice, and when 

I see anything connected with it, I feel, sir, quite agitated. 

E 2 



52 COSTARESl 

Your drawing, sir, is so beftadfol, thmt I know not bow, I 
thonght for a moment that I was rea% looking upon 
these beaatifiil palaces, and crossing this &inons Bialto.' 

'Nerer apologise for showing foeling, my fiiend. Be- 
member that when jon do so yon. apolc^ise for truth. I, 
too, am fond of Y enice ; nor is there any city where I haye 
made more drawings.* 

* What, or, have yon been at Yenioe ? * 

' Is that so strange a deed ? I have been in stranger 
places.' 

* O sir, how happy you mnst be ! To see Yenice, and to 
travel in distant countries, I think I could die as the con- 
dition of such enjoyment.' 

* You know as yet too little of life to think of death,' said 
the stranger. 

'Alas, sir/ I mournfully sighed, 'I have often wished to 
die.' 

< But can one so young be tmhappy ? ' asked the stranger. 

' O sir, most, most unhappy. I am alone supported in 
this world by a fervent persnasion, that the holy Magdalen 
has condescended to take me under her especial protection.' 

* The holy Magdalen ! ' exclaimed the stranger with an 
air of great astonishment ; ' indeed ! and what made you 
unhappy before the holy Magdalen condescended to take 
you under her especial protection ? Do you think, or has 
anybody told you that you have committed any sin ? ' 

' No ! sir, my life has been, I hope, innocent ; nor do I 
see indeed, how I could commit any sin, for I have never 
been subject to any temptation. But I have ever been 
unhappy, because I am perplexed about myself. I feel 
that I am not like other persons, and that which makes 
them happy is to me a source of no enjoyment.' 

*But you have, perhaps, some sources of enjoyment 
which are peculiar to yourself, and not open to them. 
Come, tell me how you have passed your life. Indeed, you 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 58 

have Qxcited my curiosity ; for I observed to-day, wliile I 
was drawing, that yon were a good fonr hours reclining in 
the same position.' 

' Four hours, sir ! I thought that I had been there but a 
few minutes.' 

* Four hours by the sun, as well as by this watch. What 
were you doing? Were you thinking of the blessed 
Magdalen ? ' 

* No, sir ! ' I gravely replied, ' not to-day.' 
' How then ? ' 

* Indeed, sir,' I answered, reddening, * if I tell you, I am 
afraid you will think me very foolish.' 

* Speak out, little man. We are all very foolish ; and I 
have a suspicion, that if we understood each other better 
you might perhaps turn out the least foolish of the two. 
Open then your mind and fear nothing. For believe me, it 
is dishonourable to blush when you speak the truth, even 
if it be to your shame.' 

There was something in the appearance and manner of 
the stranger that greatly attracted me. I sought him with 
the same eagerness with which I always avoided my fellow 
creatures. From the first, conversation with him was no 
shock. His presence seemed to sanctify, instead of out- 
ragiQg my solitude. His voice subdued my sullen spirit, 
and called out my hidden nature. He inspired me not only 
with confidence, but even with a degree of fascinating 
curiosity. 

* Indeed, sir,' I began, still with a hesitating voice but a 
more assured manner, * indeed, sip, I have never spoken of 
these things to any one, for I feel they could not believe or 
comprehend what I would wish to express, nor, indeed, is 
it delightful to be laughed at. But know that I ever like to 
be alone, and it is this, that when I am alone, I can indulge 
in thought, which gives me great pleasure. For I would wish 
you to comprehend, sir, that I have ever lived in, as it were. 



54 CONTAEmi FLEMINa: 

two worlds, a public world anda private world. But I should 
not be nnliappy in the private world bnt for one reason, 
which is nothing, butlwas ever most happy ; bnt in the pnb- 
Hc world I am indeed miserable. For yon mnst know, sir, 
tiiat when I am alone, my mind is fall of what seem to me 
beantiftLl thoughts ; nor indeed are they thoughts alone 
that make me so happy, but in truth, I perform many 
strange and noble acts, and these, too, in distant countries 
and in unknown places, and other persons appear and they 
also act. And we all speak in language more beautiful 
than common words. And, sir, many other things occur 
which it would take long to recount, but which, indeed, I 
am sure, that is, I think, would make any one very happy.' 

' But all this is a source of happiness, not of unhappiness,' 
said the stranger. ' Am I to comprehend, then, that the 
source has dried up ? ' 

' Oh ! no, sir, for only this morning I had many visions, 
but I checked them.' 

* But why check them ? ' 

* Ah ! sir,' I answered, heaving a deep sigh, * it is this 
which makes me unhappy, for when I enter into this private 
worid, there arises in the end a desire to express what has 
taken place in it which indeed I cannot gratify.' 

The stranger for a moment mused. Then he suddenly 
said, * And when you looked upon my sketch of the abbey, 
tliere seemed to you a cavalier advancing, I think you 
said?' 

' From the pass of the blue mountains, sir. Whenever I 
look upon pictures it is thus.' 

' And when you beheld the Eialto, tell me what ooouned 
then?' 

* There was a rush, sir, in my mind ; and when my eye 
caught that tall young signer, who is stepping off the stairs 
of a palace into a gondola, I wished to write a tale of which 
he should be the hero,' 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 55 

* It appears to me, my young fiiend,' said the stranger 
in a serious tone, and looking at me keenly, * it appears to 
me, my young fiiend, that you are a poet.' 

' Alas, sir,' I exclaimed, extremely agitated and nearly 
seizing his hand, * alas ! alas ! sir, I am not. For I onciB 
thought 90 myself and have often tried to write ; and either 
I have not produced a line, or something so wretchedly flat 
and dull that even I have felt it intolerable. It is this that 
maikes me so miserable, so miserable that, were it not for 
feeling in the most marked manner that I am under the 
especial protection of the blessed Magdalen, I think I 
should kill myself.' 

A gentle smile played upon the Kp of the stranger, but 
it was in an instant suppressed. Then turning to me, he 
said, * Supposing a man were bom with a predisposition 
for painting, as I might have been myself, and that he were 
enabled to fancy pictures in his eye, do you think that if 
he took up a brush for the first time he could transfer these 
pictures to the canvass ? ' 

* By no means, sir, for the artist must learn his art.' 

* And is not a poet an artist, and is not writing an art* 
equally with painting ? Words are but chalk and colour^ 
The painter and the poet must follow the same course. 
Both must alike study before they execute. Both muist . 
alike consult Nature and invent the beautiful. Those who 
delineate inanimate Nature, and those who describe her, 
must equally study her, if they wish to excel in her own. 
creations ; and for man, if the painter study the outward . 
form of the animal, the inward must be equally investigated 
by the poet. Thus far for the natural ; and for the ideal, 
which is an improvement upon nature, and which you will 
some day more clearly comprehend, remember this, that 
the painter and the poet, however assisted by their own 
organization, must alike perfect their style by the same 
process, I mean by studying the works themselves of great 



56 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

painters and great poets. See then, my yonng Mend, how 
unreasonable yon are, that, because you cannot be a great 
artist without studying your art, you aare unhappy.' 

* 0, sir, indeed, indeed, I am not ! There is no applica- 
tion, there is no exertion, I feel, I feel it strongly, of whicli 
I am not capable, to gain knowledge. Indeed, sir, yon 
speak to me of great things, and my mind opens to your 
wisdom, but how am I to study ? ' 

* Be not too rapid. JBefore we part, which will be in a 
moment, I will write you some talismanic rules which have 
been of great service to myself, I copied them off an 
obelisk amid the ruins of Thebes. They will teach you all 
that is now necessary.' 

* sir, how good, how kind you are ! How different 
would have been my life had I been taught by somebody 
like you.' 

* Where, then, were you educated ? ' 

* I am a student of the college about two miles off. Per- 
haps you may have passed it ? ' 

' What, the large house upon the hill, where they learn 
words ?' said the stranger with a smile. 

* Indeed, sir, it is too true. For though it never occurred 
to me before, I see now why, with an ardent love of know- 
ledge, I have indeed there gained nothing but an ill name.' 

' And now, said the stranger rising, * I must away, for 
the sun will in a few minutes sink, and I have to reach 
a village, which is some miles off, for my night's encamp- 
ment.' 

With a feeling of deep regret I beheld him prepare to 

depart. I dropped for a moment into profound abstraction ; 

then, rushing to him, I seized his hand, and exclaimed, 

O, sip, I am noble, and I am rich, yet let me follow you ! ' 

* By no means,' said the stranger, good-naturedly, * for 
our professions are different.' 

* Yet a poet should see all things.' 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 57 



4 



* Assuredly. And you, too, will wander, but your hour 
ifl not yet come.' 

* And shall I fever see Venice ? ' 

* I doubt not ; for when a mind like yours thinks often of 
a thing, it will happen.' 

* You speak to me of mysteries.' 

* There is little mystery ; there is much ignorance. Some 
day you will study metaphysics, and you will then under- 
stand the nature of volition.' 

He opened his knapsack and took out two small volumes, 
in one of which he wrote some lines. ' This is the only 
book,' he said, *I have with me, and as, like myself, you are 
such a strong Venetian, I will give it you, because you love 
art, and artists, and are a good boy. When we meet again 
I hope I may call you a great man. 

* Here,' he said, giving them to me, *they are full of 
Venice. Here, you see, is a view of the Rialto. This will 
delight you. And in the blank leaf I have written all the 
advice you at present require. Promise me, however, not 
to read it till you return to your college. And so farewell, 
ray little man, farewell ! ' 

He extended me his hand. I took it ; and although it is 
an awkward thing at all times, and chiefly for a boy, I 
began telling him my name and condition, but he checked 
me. * I never wish to know anybody's name. Were I to 
become acquainted with every being who flits across me 
in life, the callousness of my heart would be endangered. 
If your acquaintance be worth preserving, fate or fortune 
will some day bring us again together.' 

He departed. I watched his figure until it melted in 
the rising haze of evening. It was strange the ascendancy 
that this man exercised over me. When he spoke I seemed 
listening to an oracile, and now that he had departed, I felt 
as if some supernatural visitant had disappeared, 

I quickened my walk home from the intense anxiety to 



58 CONTAEINI FLEMINa : 

open the volTiine in whicli I was to find the talismaiiio 
counsel. When I had arrived, I read written in pencil 
these words : 

' Be patient : GHEBISH hope. EeAD MOBG : PONDEB LESS. 
NaTUEE is MOEE POWEBFUL than education : TIME WILL DE- 
VELOP EVEBT THING. TbUST NOT OVEEMITCH IN THE BLESSED 

Magdalen : leabn to pbotect youbself.' 



CHAPTER XIV. 



Indeed I conld think of nothing but the stranger. AH 
night his image was before my eyes, and his voice sounded 
in my ear. I recalled each look, I repeated each expres- 
sion. When I woke in the morning, the first thing I did 
was to prononnce from memory his oracnlar advice. I 
determined to be patient ; I resolved never to despair. 
Reverie was no longer to be endured, and a book was to be 
ever in my hand. 

He had himself enabled me to comply with this last 
mle. I seized the first opportunity to examine his present. 
It was the History of Venice, in French, by Amelot de la 
Houssaye ; a real history of Venice, not one written years 
after the extinction of the Republic by some solemn 
sage, full of first principles and dull dissertations upon 
the vicious constitution, a prophet of the past, trying to 
shuffle off his commonplace deductions for authentic inspi- 
ration, but a history of Venice written by one who had 
witnessed the Doge sitting on his golden throne, and 
receiving awestruck ambassadors in his painted halls. 

I read it with an avidity with which I had never devoured 
any book; some parts of it, indeed, with absolute rapture. 
When I came to the chapter upon the nobility, a dimness 
came over my sight : for a moment I could not proceed. 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL KOMANCE. 59 

I saw them all; I marked all the divisions; the great 
magnificoes, who ranked with crowned heads, the nobles of 
the war of Candia, and the third and still inferior class. 
I was so excited, that for a moment I did not observe that 
the name of Contarini did not appear. I looked far it with 
anxiety. Bnt when I read that there were yet fonr families 
of snch pre-eminent ancestry that they were placed even 
above the magnificoes, being repnted descendants of Etonian 
Consular honses, and that of these the nnrivalled race of 
Contarini was the chief, I dashed down the book in a 
paroxysm of nervons exultation, and rushed into the woods. 

I ran about like a madman for some time, cuttrag down 
with a sharp stick the underwood that opposed my way, 
leaping trenches, haUooing, spouting, shouting, dashing 
through pools of water. At length I arrived at a more 
open part of the wood. At a slight distance was a hill. I 
rushed on up the hill, and never stopped till I had gained 
the summit. That steep ascent a little tamed me. I found 
myself upon a great ridge, and a vast savage view opened 
upon all sides. I felt now more at ease, for the extent of 
the prospect harmonised with the largeness and swell of 
my soul. 

' Ha ha ! ' I cried like a wild horse. I snorted in the air, 
my eye sparkled, my crest rose. I waved my proud arm. 
* Ha ha ! have I found it out at last ? I knew there was 
something. Nature whispered it to me, and time has 
revealed it. He said truly, time has developed everything. 
But shall these feehngs subside into poetry ? Away ! give 
me a sword. My consular blood demands a sword. Give 
me a sword, ye winds, ye trees, ye mighty hills, ye deep 
cold waters, give me a sword. I will fight ! by heavens, I 
will fight. I will conquer. Why am I not a Doge ? A 
curse upon the tyranny of man, why is our Venice not fi?ee? 
By the God of heaven I will be a Doge ! O, thou fair and 
melancholy saint ! ' I continued, faUing on my knees, * who 



60 CONTARINI FLEMINa: 

in thy infinite goodness condescendedst, as it were, to come 
down from, heaven to call me back to the true and holy 
faith of Venice, and to take me tinder thy especial protec- 
tion, blessed and beautiful Mary Magdalen, look down 
from thy glorious seat above, and smile upon thy elected 
and favourite child ! ' 

I rose up refreshed by this short prayer, calmer and 
cooler, and began to meditate upon what was now fitting to 
be done. That Contarini Fleming must with all posinble 
despatch cease to be a schoolboy was indeed evident, neces- 
sary, and indispensable. The very idea of the great house 
upon the hill, where they teach words, was ludicrous. 
Nor, indeed, would it become me ever again, under any 
pretence whatever, to acknowledge a master, or, as it 
would appear, to be subject to any laws, save the old laws 
of Venice, for I claimed for myself the rights and attributes 
of a Venetian noble of the highest class, and they were 
those pertaining to blood royal. But when I called to my 
recollection the cold, worldly, practical character of my 
father, the vast quantity of dull, lowering, entangling ties 
that formed the great domestic mesh, and bound me to a 
country which I detested, covered me with a climate which 
killed me, surrounded me with manners with which I 
could not sympathise, and duties which ITature impelled 
me not to fulfil ; I felt that, to ensure my emancipation, it 
was necessary at once to dissolve all ties of blood and 
affection, and to break away from those links which 
chained me as a citizen to a country which I abhorred. I 
resolved, therefore, immediately to set out for Venice. 
I was for the moment, I conceived, sufficiently well 
supplied with money, for I possessed one hundred rix- 
dollars, more than any five of my fellow-students toge- 
ther. This, with careful husbandry, I counted would carry 
me to the nearest sea-port, perhaps even secure me a 
passage. And for the rest, I had a lively conviction that 



A PSYCHOLOaiCAL ROMANCE. 61 

Rometliing must always tnm up to assist me in any difficul- 
ties, for I was convinced that I was a hero, and heroes are 
never long forlorn. 

On the next morning, therefore, long ere the snn had 
risen, I commenced my adventnres. I did not steal away. 
First I kissed a cross three times which I carried next to 
my breast, and then recommending myself to the blessed 
Magdalen, I walked off proudly and slowly, in a manner 
becoming Coriolanns or Cessar, who, after some removes, 
were both of them, for anght I knew, my great-grand- 
fathers. I carried in a knapsack, which we used for our 
rambles, a few slorts, my money, a pair of pocket pistols, 
and some ammunition. ITor did I forget a loaf of bread ; 
not very heroic food, but classical in my sight, from being 
the victual of the mysterious stranger. Like him, also, I 
determined in future only to drink water. 



CHAPTER XV. 



I JOUBNEYED for somo hours without stopping, along a road 
about which all I knew was, that it was opposite to the one 
which had first carried me to the college, and consequently, 
I supposed, did not lead home. I never was so delighted 
in my life. I had never been up so early in my life. It 
was like living in a new world. Everything was still, 
fresh, fragrant. I wondered how long it would last, how 
long it would be before the vulgar day, to which I had 
been used, would begin. At last a sofb luminous appear- 
ance commenced in the horizon, and gradually gathered in 
strength and brightness. Then it shivered into brilliant 
streaks, the clouds were dappled with rich flaming tints, 
and the sun rose. I felt grateful when his mild but 
vivifying warmth fell upon my face, and it seemed to me 



62 CONTAEINI FLEMma: 

tliat I heard the sound of trumpets when he came forth, 
like a royal hero, out of his paviHon. 

All the birds began singing, and the cocks crowed with 
renewed pride. I felt as if I myself could sing, my heart 
was so foil of joy and exultation. And now I heard many 
pleasant rural sounds. A horse neighed, and a whip 
smacked; there was a whistle, and the sound of a cart 
wheel. I came to a large farm-house. I felt as if I were 
indeed travelling, and Steeing the world and its wonders. 
When I had rambled about before I had never observed 
anything, for I was fall of nonsensical ideas. But now I 
was a practical man, and felt capable, as the stranger said, 
of protecting myself. Never was I so cheerftJ. 

There was a great barking, and several dogs rushed out 
at me, all very fierce, but I hit the largest over the nose 
with my stick, and it retreated yelping into the yard, 
where it again barked most furiously behind the gate ; the 
Eonaller dogs were so frightened that they slunk away 
immediately, through different hedges, nor did they bark 
again till I passed the gate, but I heard them then, though 
veiy feeble, and rather snappish than fierce. 

The fafmer was coming out of the gate, and saluted me. 
I returned him the salute with a firm voice and a manly 
air. He spoke then of the weather, and I differed from 
him, to show that I was a thinking being, and capable of 
protecting myself. I made some inquiries respecting the 
distance of certain places, and I acquired from him much 
information. The nearest town was fifteen miles off. This 
I wished to reach by night, as there was no great village, 
and this I doubted not to do. 

"When the heat increased, and I felt a little fatigued, I 
stopped at a beautiful spring, and taking my loaf out of my 
knapsack like the stranger, I ate with a keen relish, and 
slaked my slight thirst in the running water. It was the 
coldest and the purest water that I had ever tasted. I felt 



A PSYCHOLOaiCAL ROMANCE. 63 

quite happy, and was fall of confidence and self-gratnlation 
at my prosperous progress. I reposed here till noon, and 
as the day, though near midsummer, became cloudy, I then 
recommenced my journey without dread of the heat. 

On I went, fall of hope. The remembrance of the cut 
that I had given the great dog over the nose had wonder- 
j^illy inflamed my courage. I longed to knock down a 
man. Every step was charming. Every flower, every 
tree, gave me delight, which they had not before yielded. 
Sometimes, yet seldom, for it was an unfrequented road, I 
met a traveller, and always prepared myself for an adven- 
ture. It did not come, but there was yet time. Every 
person I saw, and every place I observed, seemed strange 
and new : I felt in a far land. And for adventures, my 
own consciousness was surely a sufficient one, for was I not 
a nobleman incognito, going on a pilgrimage to Venice ? 
To say nothing of the adventures that might then occur ; 
here were materials for the novelist! Pah! my accursed 
fancy was again wandering. I forgot that I was no longer 
a poet, but something which, though difficult to ascertain, 
I doubted not in the end all would agree to be infinitely 
greater: 

As the afternoon advanced the thin grey clouds melted 
away, the sun mildly shone in the warm light blue sky. 
This was again fortunate, and instead of losing my gay 
heart with the decline of day, I felt inspired with fresh 
vigour, and shot on joyous and fall of cheerfrdness. The 
road now ran through the skirts of a forest. It was still 
less like a common-place journey. On each side was a 
large plot of turf, green and sweet. Seated on this, at some 
little distance, I perceived a group of men and women. My 
heart beat at the prospect of an incident. I soon observed 
them with more advantage. Two young women were 
seated together repairing a bright garment, which greatly 
excited my wonder. It seemed of very fine stuff*, and 



64 CONTARINI FLEMING : 

richly embroidered mth gold and silver. Greatly it con- 
trasted mth their own atiire and that of their companions, 
which was plain and, indeed, shabby. As they worked one 
of them burst into repeated fits of laughter, but the other 
was more sedulous, and, looking grave, seemed to reprove 
her. A man was feeding with sticks a fire, over which 
boiled a great pot ; a middle-aged woman was stirring its 
contents. A young man was lying asleep upon the grass ; 
an older one was ^rbishing up a sword. A lightly built 
but large waggon was on the other side of the road, the 
unharnessed horses feeding on the grass. 

A little dog shrilly barked when I came up, but I was 
not afraid of dogs ; I flourished my stick, and the laughing 
girl called out * Harlequin,* and the cur ran to her. I 
stopped and enquired of the fire-lighter the distance to the 
town where I hoped to sleep. Not only did he not answer 
me, but he did not even raise up his head. It was the first 
time in my life that I had not obtained an answer. I was 
astonished at his insolence. ' Sir,* I said, in a tone of 
offended dignity, * how long is it since you have learnt not 
to answer the inquiry of a gentleman ? * 

The laughing girl burst into a renewed fit. All stopped 
their pursuits. The fire-lighter looked up with a puzzled 
sour face, the old woman stared with her mouth open, and 
the fdrbisher ran up to us with his naked weapon. He had 
the oddest and most comical face that I had ever seen. It 
was like that of a seal, but full of ludicrous mobility. He 
came rushing up, saying with an air and voice of mock 
heroism, * To arms, to arms ! ' 

I was astonished, and caught the eye of the laughing 
girl. She was very fair, with a small nose, and round 
cheeks breaking into charming dimples. When I caught 
her eye she made a wild grimace at«me, and I also laughed. 
Although I was trudging along with a knapsack my dress 
did not befit my assumed character, and, in a moment of 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 65 

surprise, I had given way to a maimer which still less 
became my situation. Women are quicker than men in 
judging of strangers. The two girls were evidently my 
friends from the first, and the fair laugher beckoned me to 
come and sit down by her. This gay wench had wonder- 
fully touched my fancy. I complied with her courteous 
offer without hesitation. I threw away my knapsack and 
my stick, and stretched my legs with the air of a fine 
gentleman. I was already ashamed of my appearance, and 
forgot everything in the desire to figure to the best 
advantage to my new friend. ' This is the first time,' I 
drawled out with a languid air, and looking in her face, 
* this is the first time in my life that I ever walked, and I 
am heartily sick of it.' 

* And why have you walked, and where have you come 
from, and where are you going to ? ' she eagerly demanded. 

* I was tired to death of riding every day of my life,' I 
rejoined, with the tone of a man who had exhausted 
pleasure. * I am not going anywhere, and I forget where 
I came from.' 

' Oh, you odd thing ! ' said the wench, and she gave me 
a pinch. 

The other girl, who was handsome, but dark, and of a 
more serious beauty, at this moment rose, and went and 
spoke to the crusty fire-lighter. When she returned she 
seated herself on my other side ; so I was now between the 
two : but as she seated herself, though doubtless uncon- 
sciously, she pressed my hand in a sentimental manner. 

* And what is your name ? ' asked the laughing girl. 

* Theodora ! how can you be so rude ? ' remarked the 
serious beauty. 

* Do you know,' said the laughing girl, whispering in my 
ear, * I think you must be a little count.' 

I only smiled in answer, but it was a smile which com- 
plimented her penetration. 

F 



66 CONTARIXI FLEMING: 

* And now may I ask who yon may be, and whither you 
may be going ? ' 

'We are going to the next town,' replied the serions 
beaniy, * where, if we find the public taste not disinclined, 
we hope to entertain them with some representations.' 

*You are actors then. What a charming profession! 
How I love ihe theatre ! When I am at home I go in my 
Mher's box every night. I have often wished to be an 
actor.' 

' Be one,' said the serious beauty, pressing my hand. 

* Jom us,' said the laughing girl, pinching my elbow. 
'Why not?' I replied, and almost thought. 'Youth 

must be passed in adventure.' 

The fear nymph produced a box of sugar-plums, and 
taking out a white almond, kissed it, and pushed it into my 
mouth. While I laughed at her wild kitten-like action, the 
dark girl drew a deep-coloured rose from her bosom, and 
pressed it to my nose. I was nearly stifled with their joint 
sweets and kindness. Neither of them would take away 
their hands. The dark girl pressed her rose with increased 
force ; the sugar-plum melted away ; but I found in my 
mouth the tip of a little finger scarcely larger, and as white 
and sweet. There was giggling without end ; I sank down 
upon my back. The dark girl snatched a hasty embrace ; 
her companion fell down by my side, and bit my cheek. 

* You funny little count ! ' said the fair beauty. 

* I shall keep these in remembrance of a happy moment,' 
said her friend, with a sentimental air ; and she glanced at 
me with her flashing eye. So saying, she picked up the 
scattered leaves of the rose. 

* And I ! am I to have nothing ? ' exclaimed the blue-eyed 
girl, with an air of mock sadness ; and she crossed her arms 
upon her lap with a drooping head. 

I took a light iron chain from my neck, and threw it over 
hers. ' There,' I said, * Miss Sugar-plum, that is for you.' 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 67 

She jumped up from the ground, and bounded about as 
if she were the happiest of creatures, laughing without end, 
and kissing the slight gift. The dark girl rose and began 
to dance, fall of grace and expression ; Sugar-plum joined 
her, and they fell into one of their stage figures. The 
serious beauty strove to excel, and indeed was the greater 
artist of the two ; but there was a wild grace about her 
companion which pleased me most. 

' Can you dance, little count ? ' she cried. 

* I am too tired,' I answered. 

* Nay, then, another day ; for it is pleasant to look forward 
to frolic' 

The man with the odd face now advanced towards me. 
He fell into ridiculous attitudes. I thought that he would 
never have finished his multiplied reverences. Every time 
he bowed he saluted me with a new form of visage ; it was 
the most ludicrous medley of pomposity, and awkwardness, 
and humour. I thought that I had never seen such a droll 
person, and was myself a little impregnated with his oddity. 
I also made him a bow with assumed dignity, and then he 
became more subdued. 

' Sir,' said he, placing his huge hand upon his breast, 
and bowing nearly to the ground ; ' I assure you, sir, indeed, 
sir, the greatest honour, sir, your company ; a very great 
honour indeed.' 

* I am equally sensible of the honour,' I replied, * and 
think myself most fortunate to have found so many and 
such agreeable friends.' 

* The greatest honour indeed, sir ; very sensible, sir ; 
always sensible, sir.' 

He stopped, and I again returned his reverence, but this 
time without speaking. 

' The greatest liberty, sir ; never take liberties ; but fear 
you will consider it a very great liberty; a very great 
liberty indeed, sir.' 

F 2 



68 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

* Indeed I shall consider myself very fortunate to comply 
with any wish that you can express.* 

* Oh, sir, you are too kind ! always are kind, have no 
dolibt ; no doubt at all, sir ; but our meal, sir, our humble 
meal, very humble indeed ; we venture to request the 
honour, your company, sir;' and he pronounced the last 
and often-repeated monosyllable with a renewed reverence. 

* Indeed I fear that I have already too much and too long 
intruded.' 

* Oh come ! pray come ! ' and each girl seized an arm, and 
led me to their banquet. 

I sat down between my two friends. The fire-lighter, 
who was the manager, and indeed proprietor of tlie whole 
concern, now received me with courtesy. When they were 
all seated, they called several times, ' Frederick ! Frederick! ' 
and then the young man who was on the ground jumped up 
and seated himself. He was not ill-looking, but I did not 
like the expression of his face. His countenance and his 
manner seemed to me vulgar. I took rather a prejudice 
against him. Nor, indeed, did my appearance seem much 
to please him, for he stared at me not very courteously ; 
and when the manager mentioned that I was a young gen- 
tleman travelling, who had done them the honour to join 
their repast, he said nothing. 

The repast was not very humble. There was pleniy 
to eat. While the manager helped the soup they sat 
quiet and demure ; perhaps my presence sHghtly restrained 
them ; even the laughing girl was for a moment calm. I 
had a keen appetite, and, though I at first from shame 
restrained it, I played my part well. The droll carved a 
great joint ^fc boiled meat. I thought I should have died ; 
he seldom spoke, but his look made us all full of merri- 
ment ; even the young man sometimes smiled. 

* We prefer living in this way to sojourning in dirty 
inns,' said the manager, with an air of dignity. 




A PSYCHOLQGICAL ROMANCE. 69 

* Yon are quite right,' I replied ; ' T desire nothing better 
than to live always so.* 

* Inns are indeed wretched things/ said the old mother. 

* How extravagantly they charge for what costs them in a 
manner nothing ! ' 

Wine was now produced. The manager filled a cup and 
handed it to me. I was just going to observe that I drank 
only water, when Sugar-plum, first touching it with her lips, 
placed it in my hand, and, pledging them all, I drank it 
off. 

* You are eating rough fare,' said the old mother ; *but 
you are welcome.' 

* I never enjoyed anything so much in my life,' I truly 
replied. * How I envy you all the happy life you lead ! ' 

* Before you style it happy you should have experienced 
it,' remarked Frederick. 

* What you say is in part true ; but if a person have ima- 
gination, experience appears to me of little use, since both 
are means by which we can equally arrive at knowledge.' 

* I know nothing about imagination,' said the young man ; 

* but what I know I owe to experience. It may not have 
taught me as much as imagination has taught you.' 

* Experience is everything,' said the old mother, shaking 
her head. 

' It sometimes costs dear,' said the manager. 

* Terrible, terrible,' observed the droll, with a most sad 
and solemn shake of the head, and lifting up his hands. I 
burst into a fit of laughter, and poured down another 
draught of wine. 

Conversation now became more brisk, and I took more 
than my share of it ; but I being new, they all wished me 
to talk. I got very much excited by my elocution, as well 
as by the wine. I discoursed upon acting, which I pro- 
nounced to be one of the first and finest of arts. I treated 
this subject, indeed, deeply, and in a spirit of 89sthe- 



70 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

tical criticism with which they seemed nnacquaintedi and a 
little snrprised. 

' Should we place it/ I asked, * before painting ? ' 

'Before scene-painting certainly/ said the droll, in a 
hoarse, thick voice ; ' for it naturally takes its place there/ 

' I never knew but one painter,' said the old mother, ' and 
therefore I cannot give an opinion.' 

The manager was quite silent. 

' All employments are equally disgusting,' said the young 
man. 

* On further reflection,' I continued, * it appears to mo 

that if we examine ' But here the white girl pinched 

me so severely under the table that I could not contain 
myself^ and I was obliged to call out. All stared, and she 
looked quite demure, as if nothing had happened. 

After this all was merriment, fun, and frolic. The girls 
pelted the droll with plums, and he unfurled an umbrella to 
protect himself. I assisted them in the attack. The young 
m&n lighted his pipe and walked off. The old mother in 
vain proclaimed silence. I had taken too much wine, and 
for the first time in my life. All of a sudden I felt the trees 
dancing and whirling round. I took another bumper to set 
myself right. In a few minutes I fell down quite flat, and 
remember nothing more. 



CHAPTER XVI. 



* I MUST get out. I am so hot.' 

* You shall not,' said Thalia. 

* I must, I must. I am so very hot.' 

* Will you desert me ! ' exclaimed Melpomene. 

* Oh ! how hot I am. Pray let me out.' 

' No one can get out at night/ said the dark girl earn- 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 71 

estly, and in a significant voice, which intimated to her 
companion to take np the parable. 

* No, indeed,' said her friend. 

* Why not ?' I asked. 

* Because it is a mle. The manager will not permit it.' 

* Confonnd the manager ! What is he to me ? I will 
get out.' 

* Oh ! what a regular little count,' said Thalia. 

* Let me out, let me out. I never was so hot in my life.' 

* Hush ! hush ! or you will wake them.' 

* If you do not let me out I will scream.' 

The manager and the droll were in the fore part of the 
wagon affecting to drive, but they were both asleep. The 
old mother was snoring behind them. They had put me 
in the back part of the wagon with my two friends. 

* Let him out, Theodora,' for the other was afraid of a 
contention. 

* Never,' said Theodora, and she embraced me with in- 
creased energy. My legs were in the other girl's lap. I 
began to kick and struggle. 

* Oh ! you naughty little coxmt,' said one. 

* Is this the return for aU our love ? ' exclaimed the 
other. 

* I wiU get out, and there is an end of it. I must have 
some air. I must stretch my legs. Let me out at once, or 
I will wake them all.' 

' Let him out, Theodora.' 

* He is certainly the wickedest little count ; but promise 
you will come back in five minutes.' 

'Anything, I wiU promise anything : only let me out.' 
They unbolted the back of the wagon; the fresh air came 
in. They shivered, but I felt it delightfdl. 

* Farewell, dearest,' exclaimed Melpomene, ' one parting 
embrace. How heavily will the moments roll until we 
again meet ! ' 



72 CONTARINI FLEiUNG : 

* Adieu, count,' said Thalia ; * and remember you are to 
come back in five minutes.' 

I jumped into the road. It was a clear, sharp night, 
the stars shining brightly. The young man was walking 
behind, wrapped up in a great cloak, and smoking his pipe. 
He came up and, with more courtesy than he had hitherto 
shown, assisted me in shutting the door and asked if I 
would try a cigar. 

I declined his ofier, and for some little way we walked 
on in silence. I felt unwe^ ; my head ached ; my mouth 
was parched. I was conscious that I had exposed myself. 
I had commenced the morning by vowing that I would 
only drink water, and for the fii*st time in my life I had 
got tipsy with wine. I had committed many other folUes, 
and altogether felt much less like a hero. I recalled all 
my petty vanity and childish weaknesses with remorse. 
Imagination was certainly not such a sure guide as expe- 
rience. Was it possible that one, who had already got into 
such scrapes, could really achieve his great purpose ? My 
conduct and my situation were assuredly neither of them 
Boman. 

As I walked on the fresh air did its kind office. My head 
was revived by my improved circulation, my companion 
furnished me with an excellent draught of water. Hope 
did not quite desert my invigorated frame. I began to 
turn in my mind how I might yet prosper. 

* I feel better,' I said to my companion, with a feeling of 
gratitude. 

*Ay ! ay! that wagon is enough to make any one ill, at 
least any one accustomed to a more decent conveyance. I 
never enter it. To say nothing of their wme, which is 
indeed intolerable to those who may have tasted a fair glass 
in the course of this sad life.' 

* You find life, then, sad ? ' I inquired with a mixed feel- 
ing of curiosity and f vmpathy. 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 73 

* He who knows life will hardlj stjle it joyous.' 

'Ah, all ! ' I thought to myself, * here is some chance of 
philosophical conversation. Perhaps I have found another 
stranger, who can assist me in self-knowledge.* 1 began 
to think that I was exceedingly wrong in entertaining a 
prejudice against this young man ; and in a few minutes I 
had settled that his sullen conduct was the mark of a 
superior mind, and that he himself must be an interesting 
personage. 

* I have found life very gloomy myself,' I rejoined ; * but 
I think it arises from our faulty education. We are taught 
words and not ideas.' 

* There is something in that,' said the young man 
thoughtfally. 

' After aU, perhaps, it is best to be patient, and cherish 
hope.' 

* Doubtless,* said the young man. 

* And I think it equally true, that we should read more 
and ponder less.* 

* Oh ! curse reading,' said my friend ; * I never could 
read.' 

*You have like myself, then, indulged in your own 
thoughts ? ' 

* Always,' he afltened. 

* Ah ! indeed, my dear friend, there is after all nothing 
like it. Let them say what they will, but give me the 
glorious pleasures of my private world, and all the jarring 
horrors of a public one I leave without regret to those more 
fitted to struggle with them.' 

* I believe that most public men are scoundrels,' sp.id the 
young man. 

*It is their education,' I rejoined, although I did not 
clearly detect the connexion of his remark. * What can 
we expect ? * 

* No, sir, it is corruption,' he replied, in a firm tone. 



74 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

' Pray/ said I, leading back the conversation to a point 
which I more fxdly comprehended, * is it your opinion that 
nature is stronger than education ? * 

* Why,' said my friend, taking a good many whiffs of 
his pipe, ' there is a great deal to be said on both sides.' 

* One of the wisest and most extraordinary men I ever 
knew, however, was of a decided opinion that nature would 
ultimately prevail.* 

* Who might he be ? ' asked my companion. 

* Why really his name ; but it is a most extraordinarj 
adventure, and to this hour I cannot help half believing 
that he was a supernatural being ; but the truth is I do 
not know his name, for I met him casually and under 
peculiar circumstances ; and though we . conversed much, 
and of very high matters, he did not, unfortunately, favour 
me with his name.' 

*That certainly looks odd,' said Mr. Frederick; *for 
when a man sheers off without giving his name, I, for one, 
never think him better than he should be.' 

' Had he not spoken of the blessed Magdalen in a way 
which I can scarcely reconcile with his other sentiments, I 
should certainly have considered him a messenger &om 
that holy personage, for I have the best reasons for beHev- 
ing that I am under her especial protection.' 

*If he abused her, that could scarcely be,' remarked 
TVederick. 

* No. Certainly I think he must have been only a man ; 
for he presented me with a gift before his departure ' 

.* That was handsome.' 

* And I can hardly believe that he was really deputed, 
though I really do not know. Everything seems mysterious; 
although I believe, after all, there is little mystery, but, on 
the contrary, much ignorance.' 

*No doubt: though they are opening schools now in 
every parish.' 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 15 

* And how much did he give you ? ' continued Frederick. 

* How much ! I do not understand you.' 
' I mean, what did he give you ? ' 

* A most delightfal book, to me particularly interesting.* 
' A book ! ' 

' A book which I shall no doubt find of great use in my 
travels.' 

' I have myself some thoughts of travelling,' said Fred- 
erick ; * for I am sick of this life, which is ill-suited to my 
former habits, but one gets into scrapes without thinking 
of it.' 

* One does in a most surprising manner.' I never made 
an observation in a tone of greater sincerity. 

* You have led a different sort of life then ? ' I asked. 
*To tell you the truth, I thought so. You could not 
disguise from me that you were superior to your appear- 
ance. I suppose, like myself, you are incog. ? ' 

' That is the exact truth.' 

* Gt)od heavens ! how lucky it is that we have met ! Do 
not you think that we could contrive to travel together ? 
What are your plans ? ' 

* Why, to say truth, I care little where I go. It is ne- 
cessary that I should travel about for some time, and see 
the world, until my father, the count, is reconciled.' 

* You have quarrelled with your father? ' 

' Do not speak of it. It is a sad affair. Bat I hope that 
it will end well. Time will show.' 
' Time, indeed, develops everything,' 

* I hope everything from my mother the countess' influ- 
ence ; but I cannot bear speaking about it. I am supported 
now by my sister Lady Caroline, out of her own allowance, 
too, poor creature. There is nothing like those sisters.' 
And he raised his hand to his face, and would have brushed 
away the tear that nearly started from his manly eye. 

I was quite affected. I respected his griefs, and would 



76 CONTAKINI FLEMING; 

not press bim for detaQs. I exhorted him to take cour- 
age. 

* Ay ! ay ! it is very easy talking ; but when a man, accus- 
tomed to the society and enjoyments I have been, finds him- 
self wandering about the world in this manner, it is very 
easy to talk ; but curse it, do not let us speak of it. And 
now where do you intend to go ? ' 

* I am thinking of Venice.' 

' Venice ! just the place I should like to see. But that 
requires funds. You are welcome to share mine as £Eir as 
they will last ; but have you anything yourself?' 

* I have one hundred rix-dollars,* I replied ; * not too 
much certainly, but I quitted home without notice. You 
understand.' 

* Oh, yes ! I have done these things myself. At your 
age I was just such a fellow as you are. A hundred rix- 
dollars ! not too much to be sure, but with what I have got 
it will do. I scorn to leave a companion in distress like 
you. Let me be shivered if I would not share the last 
farthing with the fellow I liked.' 

* You shall never repent, sir, your kindness to me ; of 
that feel assured. The time may come when I may be 
enabled to yield you assistance, nor shall it be wanting.' 

We now began seriously to consult over our plans. He 
recommended an immediate departure even that night, or 
else, as he justly remarked, I should get perhaps entangled 
with these girls. I objected to quitting so unceremoni- 
ously, and without thanking my kind friends for their 
hospitality, and making some little present to the worthy 
manager, but he said that that worthy manager already 
owed him a year's salary, and therefore I need not be 
anxious on his account. Hamburg, according to him, was 
the port to which we must work our way, and, indeed, our 
departure must not be postponed an hour, for, luckily for 
us, the next turning was the route to Hamburg. I was 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 77 

delighted to find for a friend sucli a complete man of tlio 
world, and doubted not, under his auspices, most prosper- 
ously to achieve my great object. 



CHAPTER XYII. 



* Here is your knapsack. I woke the girls getting it. They 
thought it was you, and would have given me* more kind 
words and kisses than I care for. Theodora laughed heartily 
when she found out her mistake, but Emilia was in a great 
rage.' 

* Good-natured lasses ! I think I must give them a part- 
ing embrace.' 

* Pooh ! pooh ! that will spoil all. Think of Venice. I 
cannot get at my portmanteau. Never mind, it matters 
little. I always carry my money about me. We must make 
some sacrifices, and we shall get on the better for it, for I 
can now carry our provisions ; and yet my ribbon of the 
order of the Fox is there — ^pah ! I will not think of it. 
See ! here runs the Hamburg road. Cheerily, boy, and 
good-bye to the old waggon.' 

He hurried me along. I had no time to speak. 

We pushed on with great spirit, the road again entering 
the forest, on the skirts of which I had been the whole day 
journeying. 

I know this country well,' said Frederick, * for in old days 
I have often hunted here with my father's hounds. I can 
make many a short cut that will save us much. Come 
along down this glade. We are making fine way.' 

We continued in this forest several hours, walking with 
great speed. I was full of hope, and confidence, and self- 
congratulation, that I had found such a friend. He took 
the whole management upon himself, always decided upon 
our course, never lost his readiness. I had no care, the 



78 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

brisk exercise prevented me from feeling wearied. We 
never stopped. 

The morning broke, and gave me fresh conrage. The 
snn rose, and it was agreeable to think that I was still 
nearer Venice. We came to a pleasant piece of turf, fresh 
from the course of a sparkling rivulet. 

* We have gone as good as thirty miles,* said Frederick. 
^Had we kept to the common road we should have got 
through barely half.' 

* Have we, indeed ! ' I said. * This is indeed progress ; 
but there is nothing like willing hearts. May we get on as 
well each day ! ' 

* Here I propose to rest awhile,* said my companion : * a 
few hours' repose will bring us quite round. You must not 
forget that you rather debauched yesterday.' 

Now that I had stopped I indeed felt wearied and ex- 
ceedingly sleepy. My companion kindly plucked some fern, 
and made me an excellent bed under a branching tree. 

* This is, indeed, a life of adventure,' I said. * How very 
kind you are ! Such a bed in such a scene would alone 
repay for all our fatigue.' 

He produced some bread and a bottle, and gathered some 
cresses ; but I felt no desire to eat or drink, and before he 
had finished his meal I had sunk into a deep slumber. 

I must have slept many hours, for when I woke it was 
much past noon. I arose wonderfully refreshed. I looked 
round for Frederick, but, to my surprise, he was not there. 
I jumped up, and called his name. "No answer. I became 
alarmed, and ran about the viciniiy of our encampment, 
shouting 'Frederick!' There was still no answer. Sud- 
denly I observed that my knapsack also was gone. A ter- 
rible feeling of doubt, or rather dismay, came over me. I 
sank down and buried my face in my hands, and it was 
some minutes before I could even think. 

' Can it be ! It is impossible ! Infamous knave, or rather 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 79 

miserable ass! Have I been deceived, entrapped, plun- 
dered ! 0, Contarini, Contarini, you are at length punished 
for all your foolery ! Frederick, Frederick ! lie cannot surely 
have left me. He is joking, he is trying to finghten me. I 
will not believe that I have been deceived. He must be 
trying to frighten me. I will not appear frightened. I will 
not shout in the least. Ah ! I think I see him behind that 
tree.' I jumped up again and ran to the tree, but there 
was no Frederick. I ran about, in turn shouting his name, 
execrating my idiocy, confiding in his good faith, proclaim- 
ing him a knave. An hour, a heavy but agitating hour, 
rolled away before I was convinced of the triumph of expe- 
rience over imagination. 

I was hungry, I was destitute, I was in a wild and un- 
known solitude ; I might be starved, I might be murdered, 
I might die. I could think of notHng but horrible events. 
I felt for the first time in my life like a victim. I could 
not bear to recall my old feelings. They "vvrere at once mad- 
dening and mortifying. I felt myself, at the same time, 
the most miserable and the most contemptible of beings. I 
entirely lost all my energy. I believed that all men were 
villains. I sank upon the ground and gave myself up to 
despair. In a word, I was feirly Mghtened. 

I heard a rustling in a neighbouring copse and darted 
up. I thought it was Frederick. It was not Frederick, 
but it was a human being. An ancient woodman came 
forth from a grove of oaks, a comely and venerable man. 
His white hair, his fresh, hale face, his still, keen eye, and 
the placid, benignant expression of his countenance, gave 
me hope. I saluted him, and told him my story. My ap- 
pearance, my streaming eyes, my visible emotion, were not 
lost upon him. Sharply he scrutinised me, many were the 
questions he asked, but he finally credited my tale. I learnt 
from hiTTi that during the night I had advanced into the 
interior of the forest, that he himself lived in a cottage on 



80 CONTAEINI FLEMING: 

its skirts some miles off, that lie was about to return from 
his daily labour, and that I should accompany him. As for 
the road to Hamburg, that was a complete invention. I 
also collected that home as well as the college were very 
distant. 

We proceeded together along a turf road, with his donkey 
laden with the day'^s spoils. I regained my cheerftdness, 
and was much interested by my new companion. Never 
had I seen any one so kind, and calm, and so truly vene- 
rable. We talked a great deal about trees. He appeared 
to be entirely master of his calling. I began to long to be 
a woodman, to pass a quiet, and contemplative, and virtuous 
life, amid the deep silence and beautiful scenery of forests, 
exercising all the primitive virtues which became so unso- 
phisticated a career. 

His dog darted on before us with joyful speed. We had 
arrived at his cottage, which was ancient, and neat, and 
well ordered as himself. His wife, attentive to the welcome 
bark, was already at the gate. She saluted me ; and her 
husband, shortly telling my tale, spoke of me in kind terms. 
Never had I been treated with greater kindness, never was 
I more grateful for it. The twilight was dying away, the 
door was locked, the lamp lighted, a blazing log thrown 
upon the fire, and the round table covered with a plenteous 
and pleasant meal. I felt quite happy ; and, indeed, to be 
happy yourself you must Hve among the happy. 

The good woman did not join us in our meal, but sat by 
the fireside under the lamp, watching us with a fond smile. 
Her appearance delighted me, and seemed like a picture. 

*Now does not the young gentleman remind you of 
Peter ? ' said the dame ; ' for that is just where he used to 
sit, Grod bless him. I wonder when we shall hear of him 
again?' 

* She speaks of our son, young master,' said my host, 
turning to me in explanation. 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 81 

* A boy such as has been seldom seen among people of 
our condition, sir, I can well say,' continued the old woman, 
speaking with great animation. * Oh ! why should he have 
ever left home? Young people are ever full of fancies, but 
will they ever find friends in the world they think so much 
of, like the father who gives them bread, and the mother 
who gave them milk ? ' 

* My father brought me up at home, and I have ever lived 
at home,' observed the old man. * I have ever lived in this 
forest, many is the tree that is my foster-brother ; and that 
is sixty-eight years come Martinmas. I saw my father 
happy, and wished no more. Nor had I ever a heavy hour 
till Peter began to take these fancies in his head, and that, 
indeed, was from a boy this high, for he was ^ver full of 
them, and never would do anything with the axe. I am 
sure I do not know how they got there. The day will come 
he will wish he had never left home, and perhaps we may 
^et see him.' 

' Too late, too late ! ' said the old woman. * He might 
have been the prop of our old age. Many is the girl that 
would have given her eyes for Peter. Our grandchildren 
might have been running this moment about the room. 
God bless them, whom we shall never bless. And the old 
man now must work for his old woman as if it were his 
wedding year.' 

'Pooh ! pooh ! as for that, say nothing,' rejoined Peter; 
' for I praise God my arms and legs are hearty yet. And 
indeed, were they not, we cannot say that our poor boy has 
ever forgotten us.' 

* Indeed it is true. He is our own son. But where does 
the money come from ? that is the question. I am sure I 
often think what I dare not say, and pray God to forgive 
me. How can a poor woodman's son who never works 
gain wherewith to support himself, much more to give 

G 



82 CONTARINI FLEMTNO: 

away? I fear that if all had their rights, we should have 
better means to succour Peter than Peter us.* 

* Nay, nay, say not that, dear Mary,* said her Imsband, 
reprovingly, * for it is in a manner tempting the deviL* 

* The devil perhaps sent the thought, but it often comes,' 
answered the old woman, firmly. 

* And where is your son, sir ? ' I asked. 

' Grod, who knows all, can tell, not I,' said the old man; 
* but wherever he be I pray God to bless him.' 

* Bas he left you long, sir ? ' 

' Fifteen years come September ; but he ran away once 
before, when he was barely your height, but that was not 
for long.' 

* Indeed,' I said, reddening. 

* I beheve he is a good lad,* said the father, * and will 
never believe harm against him till I hear it. He vras a 
kind boy, though strong-tempered, and even now every 
year he sends us something, and sometimes writes a line, 
but never tells us where he is, only that he is very happy, 
if we are. But for my part I rather think he is in foreign 
parts.' 

* That is certain,' interrupted Dame Mary. * I dare say 
he is got among the French.' 

' He was ever a wrong-headed queer chap,* continued the 
father in an undertone to me ; * sometimes he wanted to be 
a soldier, then a painter, then he was all for travelling 
about ; and I used to say, " Peter, my boy, do you know 
what you are?" And when I sent him in the woods to 
work, when he came home at night, I found that he had 
been a painting the trees ! ' 

The conversation had taken a turn, which induced medita- 
tion. I was silent and thoughtfal ; the dame busied her- 
self with work, the old man resumed his unfinished meal. 
Suddenly there was a shouting at the garden gate. All 
stared and started. The dog jumped up and barked. The 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 83 

shouting was repeated, and was evidently addressed to the 
inmates of the cottage. The old woodman seized his rifle, 
and opened the casement. 

* Who calls? ' he demanded, * and what want you?' 

* Dwelleth Peter Winter here? ' was inquired. . 

* He speaks to you,' was the reply. 

* Open the door, then,' said the shouter. 

* Tell me first who you are.' 

*My name has been already mentioned,' answered the 
shouter, with a laugh. 

' What mean you?' 

' Why, that my name is Peter Winter.' 

The old woman screamed ; a strange feeling also was my 
lot ; the woodman dropped the loaded rifle. I prevented it 
from going off; neither of them could move. At last I 
opened the door, and the stranger of the Abbey entered. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 



There was some embracing, much blessing, the old woman 
never ceased crying, and the eyes of the father were full of 
tears. The son alone was calm, and imperturbable, and 
smiling. 

'Are you indeed Peter?' exclaimed the old woman, 
sobbing with joy. 

' I never heard so from any one but you,' answered the 
son. 

* And am I blessed with the sight of you before my 
death?' continued the mother. 

* Death ! why you look ten years younger than when I 
last saw you?' 

* Oh ! dear no, Peter. And why did not you tell us 
where you were ? ' she continued. 

' Because I never knew.' 

o 2 



84 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

* ! my dear, dear son, how tall you have jgrown ! and 
pray how have you managed to live ? honestly, I am sure ; 
your face says so.' 

* As for that, it does not become me to praise myself; 
but you see I have saved my neck.* 

* And what would you like to eat? * 

* Anything.* 

The father could not speak for silent joy. I had retired 
to the remotest comer of the room. 

* The old cottage pretiy as ever. I have got a drawing 
of it in my portfolio : always kept it, and your portrait too, 
mother, and my father cutting down Schinkers oak; do 
you remember ? * 

* Do I remember ! Why, what a memory the child has 
got, and only think of its keeping its poor old mother's 
head in its pocket-book, and the picture of the cottage, 
and ^Either cutting down Schinkel's oak. Do I remember! 
Why I remember ' 

* Come, my dear old lady, give me something to eat, and 
father, your hand again. You flourish like one of your 
foster brothers. A shower of blessings on you both.' 

* Ah ! what do we want more than to see our dear Peter?' 
said the old woman bustling about the supper. * And as 
for working, I warrant you, you shall be plagued no more 
about working ; shall be as idle as it pleases, that's for it. 
For old Peter was only saying this evening, that he could 
do more work now, and more easily than when he first 
married; ay! he will make old bones, I warrant him.* 

* I said, Mary ' 

* Pooh ! pooh ! never mind what you said, but get the 
brandy bottle, and give our dear Peter a sup. He shall be 
plagued no more about working, and that's for it. But, 
Lord bless us, whore is the young master all the time, for 
I want him to help me get the things.' 

I stepped forward and caught the eye of the son. 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 85 

* What,' lie exclaimed, * my little embryo poet, and how 
came you here, in the name of the holy Magdalen ?* 
' It is a long story,' I said. 

* Oh ! then pray do not tell it,* he replied. 

Supper soon appeared. He ate heartily, talking between 
each mouthfal, and full of jests. The fe.ther could not 
speak, but the mother was never silent. He asked many 
questions about old acquaintances, and I fancied he asked 
them with little real interest, and only to gratify his 
mother, who, at each query, burst into fresh admiration of 
his memory and his kind-heartedness. At length, after 
much talk, he said, * Come, old people, to bed ! to bed ! 
these hours are not for grey hairs. We shall have you all 
knocked up to-morrow, instead of fresh and joyful.' 

* I am sure I cannot sleep,' said the dame, * I am in such 
a taking.' 

* Pooh ! you must sleep, mother : good night to you, good 
night,' and embracing her he pushed her into the next 
room ; good night, dear father,' he added in a soft and 
serious tone, as he pressed the honest woodman's hand. 

* And now, Uttle man, you may tell me your story, and 
we will try to talk each other to sleep.' So saying, he 
flung a fresh log on the fire, and stretched his legs in his 
fiather's ancient seat. 



CHAPTER XIX. 



It was settled that I should remain at the cottage for a few 
days, and then that, accompanying Winter, I should repair 
to the capital. Thither he was bound ; and for myself, 
both from his advice and my own impulse, I had resolved 
to return home. 

On the next morning the woodman went not to his usual 
labour, but remained with his son. They strolled out to- 



86 CONTAEINI FLEMING: 

gether, but in a short time returned. The mother bustled 
about preparing a good dinner. For her this was fall 
employment^ but time hung heavy on the old man. At 
last he took his axe and fairly set to work at an old tree 
near his dwelling, which he had long condemned, and never 
found time to execute. His son and he had few ideas to ex- 
change, and he enjoyed his happiness more while he was em- 
ployed. Winter proposed a ramble to me, and I joined him. 

He was gay, but would not talk about himself, whicli 
I wished. I longed to know what he exactly was, but 
deemed a direct inquiry indelicate. He delighted to find 
out places he had known when young, and laughed at me 
very much about my adventures. 

* You see what it is to impart knowledge to youth like 
you. In eight-and-forty hours all these valuable secrets 
are given to Master Frederick, who will perhaps now torn 
out a great poet.' 

I bore his rallying as good-humouredly as he could inflh, 
and tried to lead our conversation to subjects which in- 
terested me. ^ Ask me no more questions,' he said, ^ about 
yourself, I have told you everything. All that I can 
recommend you now is to practise self-forgetfulness.' 

We rested ourselves on a bank and talked about foreign 
countries, of which, though he himself never figured in his 
tales, he spoke without reserve. My keen attention 
proved with what curiosity and dehght I caught each 
word. Whenever he paused, I led him by a question to 
a fresh narrative. I could not withstand expressing how I 
was charmed by such conversation. * All that I tell yon,* 
he said, ' and much more, may be found in books. Those 
that cannot themselves observe, can at least acquire the 
observation of others. These are indeed shadows, but by 
watching these shadows we learn that there are substances. 
Little man, you should read more. At your time of life you 
can do nothing better than read good books of travels.* 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 87 

* But is it not better myself to travel ? * 

* Have 1 not told yon that your wandering days liave not 
yet come ? Do you wish to meet another Mr. Frederick ? 
You are much too young. Travel is the great source of 
true wisdom, but to travel with profit you must have such 
a thing as previous knowledge. Do you comprehend ? ' 

* Ah ! sir, I fear me much that I am doomed to bo 
unhappy.' 

* Poh ! Poh ! Clear your head of all such nonsense. 
There is no such thing as unhappiness.' 

' No such thing as unhappiness, sir ? How may this be, 
for all men believe .' 

* All men believe many things which are not true ; but 
remember what I say, and when you have lived as long as 
I have, you will perhaps discover that it is not a paradox. 
In the meantime it is nonsense talking about it, and I have 
got an enormous appetite. A fine dinner to-day for us, I 
warrant you.' 

So we returned home at a brisk pace. The old woman 
looked out at the door when she heard our steps, and, 
nodding to her son with a smile of fondness, * You must 
walk in the garden awhile, Peter,' she said, ' for I am busy 
getting the room ready. Now, I dare say you are thinking 
of the dinner, but you cannot tell me what there is for 
Peter, that you cannot. But I'll tell you, for if you fret 
yourself with guessing, mayhap it will hurt your relish. 
Do you remember crying once for a pig, Peter, and father 
saying a woodman's boy must not expect to live Hke the 
forest farmer's son ? Well, he may say what he likes ; 
Peter, there is a pig.' 

The father joined us, cleanly shaved, and in his Sunday 
raiment. I never saw any one look so truly respectable as 
did this worthy old peasant in his long blue coat with large 
silver buttons, deep waistcoat covered with huge pink 
flowers and small green leaves, blue stockings, and massy 
buckles. 



88 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

The three days at the woodman's cottage flew away most 
pleasantly. I was grieved when they were gone, and, in 
spite of my natural courage, which was confirmed hy 
meditation, and 'strengthened by my constantly trying it 
in ideal conjunctures, I thought of my appearance at home 
with a little anxiety. 

We were to perform our journey on foot. The morning 
of the third day was to light us into the city. All was 
prepared. I parted from my kind friends with many good 
wishes, hearty shakes of the hand, and frequent promises 
of another visit. Peter was coming to them again very 
shortly. They hoped I might again be his companion. 
The father walked on with us some little way. The 
mother stood at the cottage door until we were out of 
sight, smiling through her tears, and waving her hand 
with many blessings. 

* I must take care of my knapsack,' said the younger 
Winter, * evil habits are catching.' 

* Nevertheless, I hope you will sometimes let me carry it. 
At any rate give me your portfolio.' 

* No, no, you are not to be trusted, and so come on,* 



CHAPTER XX. 



* But, my dear friend, you have lodged, you have fed, you 
have befriended, you have supported me. If my father 
were to know that we parted thus he would never forgive 
me. Pray, pray, tell me.' 

* Prithee, no more. You have told me your name, which 
is against my rules ; you know mine, no one of my fellow- 
travellers ever did before ; and yet you are not con- 
tented. You grow unreasonable. Did I not say that, 
if our acquaintance were worth maintaining, wo should 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 89 

meet again ? Well ! I say the same thing now, and so 
good bye.' 

* Dear sir, pray, pray ' 

* This is my direction ; your course lies over that bridge ; 
look sharp about you, and do not enter into your private 
world, for the odds are you may find your friend Count 
Frederick picking a pocket. Good morning, little man.' 

We parted, and I crossed the bridge. The stir of man 
seemed strange after the silence of the woods. I did not 
feel quite at my ease ; my heart a little misgave me. I 
soon reached the street in which my father resided. I 
thought of the woodman's cottage, and the careless days 
I had spent under that simple roof. I wished myself once 
more by Schinkel's oak, talking of Araby the Blest with 
that strange man, with whom my acquaintance, although 
so recent, seemed now only a dream. Did he really exist ; 
were they all real beings with whom I seemed lately to have 
consorted ? Or had I indeed been all this time plunged in 
one of my incurable reveries ? I thought of the laughing 
girl, and her dark sentimental friend. I felt for the chain 
which I always wore round my neck. It was gone. No 
doubt, then, it must all be true. 

I had reached the gate. I uttered an involuntary sigh 
and took up the knocker. It was for a moment suspended. 
I thought of the Contarinis, and my feeble knock hurried 
into a sharp rap. * 'Tis a nervous business,' thought I, 
* there is no concealing it. 'Tis flat rebellion, 'tis desertion, 
'tis an outrage of all parental orders, 'tis a violation of the 
law of nature and nations.' I sighed again. * Yet these 
M'e all bugbears ; for what can they do to me ? Is there 
any punishment that they can inflict that I care for ? 
Certainly not, and 'tis likely it will all blow over. Yet 
the explanations, and the vile excuses, and the petty 
examinations, there is something pitiful, and contemptible, 
and undignified, in the whole process. What is it that so 



90 COXTARDfl FLEMING: 

annoys me ? 'Tis not fear. I think it is the di^ost of 
being accountable to any hnman being.' 

I went npstairs. My father, I felt snre, "was away. I 
found the Baroness alone. She started when I entered, 
and looked snllen. Her conntenance, she flattered herself, 
was a happy mixture of the anxiety which became both a 
spouse and a mother, pity for my &ther, pity for me, and 
decided indignation at my veiy improper conduct. 

' How do you do, Afadam ? ' I enquired in as quiet a tone 
as I could command. 'My father is, I suppose, at his 
oflSx5e.' 

' I am sure I cannot tell,' she replied, speaking in a sub- 
dued serious tone, as if there were death in the house. 
' I believe he lias gone out to-day. He has been very 
agitated indeed, and I think is extremely unwell. We 
have all been extremely agitated and alarmed. I have 
kept myself as quiet as I could, but can bear no noise 
whatever. The Baron has received a fine letter finom your 
tutor,' she continued in a brisker, and rather malignant 
tone, ' but your father will speak to you. I know nothing 
about these things. I wished to have said something to 
soothe him, but I know I never interfere for any good.' 

* Well,' I observed, with a dogged, desperate tone, speak- 
ing through my teeth, * well ! all I can say is, that if my 
father has been prejudiced against me by a parcel of in- 
famous falsehoods, as it appears by your account, I know 
how to protect myself. I see how the ground lies ; I see 
that I have already been judged, and am now to be punished, 
without a trial. But I will not submit any longer to such 
persecution. Kindness in this house I never expect, but 
justice is a right enjoyed by a common woodman and denied 
only to me.' 

* Dear me, Contarini, how violent you are ! I never said 
your father was even angry. I only said I thought he was 
a little unwell, a little bilious, I think. My dear Contarini, 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL KOMANCE. 91 

you are always so very violent. I am sure I said I was con- 
fident you would never liave left college without a very good 
cause indeed. I liave no doubt you will explain eveiy thing in 
the most satisfactory manner possible. I do not know what 
you mean always by talking of not expecting kindness in 
this house. I am sure I never interfere with you. I make 
it a rule always, when your interest is in the least con- 
cerned, never to give an opinion. I am sure I wish you 
were more happy and less violent. As for judging and 
pxinishing without a trial, you know your father never 
punishes any one, nor has he decided anything, for all he 
knows is from the letter of your tutor, and that is but a 
line, merely saying you had quitted the college without 
leave, and, as they supposed, had gone home. They said, 
too, that they, were the more surprised, as your general 
behaviour was quite unexceptionable. Not at all against 
you the letter was, not at all, I assure you. I pointed out 
to your &«ther more than once that the letter was, if any- 
thing, rather *in your favour, because I had no doubt that 
you wotdd explain the step in a satisfactory manner ; and 
they said, you see, that your conduct, otherwise, was per- 
fectly unexceptionable. 

' WeU, my dear Madam, I am sorry if I have offended you. 
How are my brothers ? ' 

'I am willing to forget it. You may say and think 
what you please, Contarini, as long as you are not violent. 
The children arie pretty well. Ernest is quite ready to go 
to college, and now there is no one to take care of him. I 
always thought of your being there with quite a feeling of 
satisfaction, for I was sure that you would not refiise to do 
what you could for him among the boys. As it is, I have 
no doubt he will be killed the first half-year, or, at least, 
have a Hmb broken, for, poor dear boy, he is so delicate, he 
cannot fight.' 

* Well, my dear Madam, if I be not there, I can recom- 



92 COXTAIIINI FLEMINa: 

mend him to some one who will take care of him. Make 
yourself easy. A little rough life will do him no harm, 
and I will answer he is not killed, and even have not a 
limb broken. Now what do you recommend me to do 
about my father ? Shall I walk down to him ? ' 

* I certainly think not. You know that ho will certainly 
bo at home this afternoon, though, to be sure, he will be 
engaged ; but to-morrow, or the day after, I have no doubt 
ho will find half an hour to speak to you. You know he is 
80 very busy.' 

I immediately resolved to walk down to him. I had no 

idea of having a scene impending over me in this manner 

for days. My father at this time filled the office of Secretary 

of State for Foreign Affairs. He had been appointed to 

this post recently, and I had never yet visited him at his 

now office. I repaii^ed to it immediately. It was at some 

distance from his house. His horses were waiting at the 

door ; tlierefore I was sure that he was to be found. When 

I entered, I found myself in a haU where a porter was 

loitering in a large chair. I asked him for Baron Fleming. 

Ho did not deign to answer me, but pointed to a maliogany 

door. I entered, and found myself in a large weU-fnmished 

room, fitted up with desks. At the end two young men 

wore fencing. Another, seated at a round table, covered 

with papers, was copying music, and occasional]^ trying a 

note on his guitar. A fourth was throwing him?wilf into 

attitudes before a pier-glass ; and the fifth, wbo was the 

only one whoso omplovment was in any degree of a political 

naturo« was soatoil at his desk, reading the newspaper. I 

No one noticed my entiance. I looked in vain for my 

iHihor^ ai\d with some astonishment at those I found in his 

plact\ Then I evA^rarwi for Bai^n Flemisg. and, for the 

siwnd time in or.o dav, I did n:»t receive anv answer. I 

ri^po5itod luy qaery in a more audible tone, and the young 

g\^v.: V:v.ar. \\l.v% w-;*s rvftair^i: the newspaper, withoat taking 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL KOMANCE. 93 

his eyes off the columns, demanded in a curt voice what I 
wanted with him. 

' What is that to you ? ' I ingenuously asked. 

This unusual reply excited attention. They all looked at 
me ; and when they had looked at me, they looked at each 
other and smiled. My appearance, indeed, of which till I 
had seen myself in the pier-glass I was not sensible, was 
well calculated to excite a smile and to attract a stare. My 
clothes were not untattered, and were very much soiled, 
being covered with shreds of moss and blades of grass, and 
stuck over with thistle- tops ; my boots had not been cleaned 
for a week ; my shirt-frill, which fell over my shoulders, 
was torn and dirtied ; my dishevelled and unbrushed locks 
reached my neck, and could scarcely be said to be covered 
by the small forester's cap which I always wore at school, 
and in which I had decamped. Animate the countenance 
of this strange figure with that glow of health which can 
only be obtained by the pedestrian, and which seemed to 
shock the nerves of this company of dapper youths. 

* K you want Baron Fleming, then, you must go upstairs,' 
said the student of the newspaper in a peevish voice. 

As I shut the door I heard the burst of laughter. I mounted 
up the great staircase and came into an antechamber. 

' What do you want, sir? what do you want, sir? You 
must not come here,' said a couple of pompous messengers 
nearly pushing me out. 

' I shall not go away,' I replied. * I want Baron Fleming.' 

' Engaged, young gentleman, engaged ; can't see any one, 
impossible.' 

* I shall wait, then.' 

* No use waiting, young gentleman, better go.' 

* It is not such an easy matter, I perceive, to see one's 
father,' I thought to myself. 

I did not know which was his room, otherwise I would 



94 CONTAKINI FLEMINa: 

have gone in ; but turning round, I detected written on a 
door, ' Under Secretary's Oflfice,' and I ran to it. 

* Stop, sir, stop,' said the messengers. 

But I had hold of the lock. They pulled me, I kicked 
the door, and out came the private secretary of the under 
secretary. 

' What is all this? ' asked the private secretary. He was 
a fit companion for the young gentleman I had lefb down- 
stairs. 

* I want Baron Fleming,' I replied, ' and these men will 
not tell me where he is, and therefore I come to the under 
secretary to ask.' So saying, I indignantly freed my arm 
from the capture of one of the messengers, and kicked the 
shin of the other. 

* May I ask who you are ? ' demanded the private secretary. 
' I am Baron Contarini Fleming,' I replied. 

' Pray sit down,' said the private secretary, * I will be 
with you in a moment.' 

The two messengers darted back, and continued bowing 
without turning their backs until they unexpectedly reached 
the end of the room. 

The private secretary returned with the under secretary. 
The under secretary told me that my father was engaged 
with the chancellor, and that his door was locked, but that 
the moment the door was unlocked, and the chancellor 
departed, he would take care that he was informed of my 
arrival. In the meantime, as he himself had a deputation 
to receive in his room, who were to come to day to complain 
in form of what they had for months been complaining 
informally, he begged that I would have the kindness to 
accompany his private secretary to the room downstairs. 

The room downstairs I again entered. The private secre- 
tary introduced me. All looked very confused, and the 
young gentleman who was still reading the newspaper 
immediately handed it to me. I had never read a news- 



A PSYCHOLOGICAIi EOMANCE. 95 

paper in mj life, but I accepted his offer to show my im- 
portance. As I did not understand politics I turned to the 
back of the sheet, where there is generally an article on the 
fine arts, or a review of a new book. My wandering eye 
fixed upon a memoir of the Chevalier de Winter. I was 
equally agitated and astonished. My eye quivered over the 
page. I saw in an instant enough to convince me it was 
my friend, and that my friend was styled * a great ornament 
to the country,' and the Northmen were congratulated on 
at length producing an artist whom the Italians themselves 
acknowledged unrivalled among the living. I learnt that 
he was the son of a peasant ; how his genius for painting 
early developed itself; how he had led for years an eccentric 
and wandering life ; how he had returned to Home, and at 
once produced a master-piece ; how he had gained prizes in 
academies ; how he was esteemed and honoured by foreign 
princes ; how his own illustrious monarch, ever alive to the 
patronage of the fine arts, had honoured him with two 
commissions ; how he had returned to his native country 
with these magnificent pictures, which were daily exhibit- 
ing in the Royal Academy of Arts ; how the king had con- 
ferred on him the collar of a high order, and offered him a 
great pension; how he had refused the pension, and re- 
quested only that a competence might be settled on his 
parents. 

I was bewildered; I fell into a deep reverie, the paper 
dropped from my hand, the door opened, and the private 
secretary summoned me to the presence of my father. 



CHAPTER XXI. 



It is time that you should know something of my father. 
You must remember that he was little more than a score of 
years my senior. Imagine, then, a man of about four and 



96 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

thirty years of age, tall and thin, handsome and elegant, 
pensive and pale. His clear, broad brow ; his aquiline, bnt 
delicately-chiselled nose ; his grey, deep-set, and penetra- 
ting eye; and his compressed lips; altogether formed a 
countenance which enchanted women and awed men. 

His character is more difficult to delineate. It waa per- 
haps inscrutable. I will attempt to sketch it, as it mtight 
then have appeared to those who considered themselves 
qualified to speculate upon human nature. 

His talents were of high order, and their exercise alone 
had occasioned his rise in a country in which he had no 
interest and no connexions. He had succeeded in everything 
he had undertaken. As an orator, as a negotiator, and in 
all the details of domestic administration, he was alike 
eminent ; and his luminous interpretation of national law 
had elevated the character of his monarch in the opinion of 
Europe, and had converted a second-rate power into the 
mediator between the highest. 

The minister of a free people, he was the personal as 
well as the political pupil of Metternich. Yet he respected 
the institutions of his country, because they existed, and 
because experience proved that under their influence the 
natives had become more powerful machines. 

His practice of politics was compressed in two words, 
subtilty and force. The minister of an emperor, he would 
have maintained his system by armies ; in the cabinet of a 
small kingdom, he compensated for his deficiency by 
intrigue. 

His perfection of human nature was a practical man. 
He looked upon a theorist either with alarm or with con- 
tempt. Proud in his own energies, and conscious that he 
owed everything to his own dexterity, he believed all to 
depend upon the influence of individual character. He 
required men not to think but to act, not to examine but 
to obey ; and, animating their brute force with his own 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL K0:\LINCE. 97 

intelligence, he found the success, which he believed could 
never be attained by the rational conduct of an enlightened 
people. 

Out of the cabinet the change of his manner might 
perplex the superficial. The moment that he entered society 
his thoughtful face would break into a fascinating smile, 
and he listened with interest to the tales of levity, and 
joined with readiness in each frivolous pursuit. He was 
sumptuous in his habits, and was said to be even voluptuous. 
Perhaps he affected gallantry, because he was deeply im- 
pressed with the influence of women both upon public and 
upon private opinion. With them he was a xiniversal 
favourite ; and as you beheld him assenting with convic- 
tion to their gay or serious nonsense, and gracefully waving 
his handkerchief in his delicate and jewelled hand, you 
might have supposed him for a moment a consummate lord 
chamberlain; but only for a moment, for had you caught 
his eye, you would have withdrawn your gaze with pre- 
cipitation, and perhaps with awe. For the rest, he spoke 
all languages, never lost his self-possession, and never, in 
my recollection, had displayed a spark of strong feeling. 

I loved my father deeply, but my love was mixed with 
more than reverence ; it was blended with fear. He was 
the only person before whom I ever quailed. To me he 
had been universally kind. I could not recall, in the whole 
period of my existence, a single harsh word directed to 
myself that had ever escaped him. Whenever he saw me 
he smiled and nodded ; and sometimes, in early days, when 
I requested an embrace, he had pressed my lips. As I 
grew in years everything was arranged that could conduce 
to my happiness. Whatever I desired was granted ; what- 
ever wish I expressed was gratified. Yet with all this, by 
some means or other which I could not comprehend, the 
intercourse between my father and myself seemed never to 
advance. I was still to him as much an infant as if I were 

H 



98 COXTARDfl FLEMISG: 

jet a subject of the nnrseiy; and the imp ending and im- 
portant interview might be considered the first time that it 
was ever my fortnne to engage with him in serious con- 
verse. 

The door was opened ; my heart palpitated ; the private 
secretary withdrew ; I entered the lofty room. My &th6r 
was writing. He did not lookup as I came in. I stood at 
his table a second ; he raised his eyes, stared at my odd 
appearance, and then, pointing to a chair, he said, * How 
do yon do, Contarini ? I have been expecting yon some 
days.' Then he resumed his writing. 

I was rather surprised, but my entrance had so agitated 
me that I was not sorry to gain time. A clock was opposite 
to me, and I employed myself in watching the hands. 
They advanced over one, two, three minutes slowly and 
solemnly; still my father wrote; even five minutes dis- 
appeared, and my Either continued writing. I thought 
five minutes had never gone so slowly ; I began to think of 
what I should say, and to warm up my courage by an 
imaginary conversation. Suddenly I observed that ten 
minutes had flown, and these last five had scudded in a 
surprising manner. Still my father was employed. At 
length he rang his bell ; one of my Mends, the messengers, 
entered. My father sent for Mr. Strelamb, and before Mr. 
Strelamb, who was his private secretary, appeared, he had 
finished his letter, and given it to the other messenger. 
Then Mr. Strelamb came in, and seated himself opposite 
to my fSather, and took many notes with an attention and 
quickness which appeared to me quite marvellous ; and 
then my father, looking at the clock, said he had an ap- 
pointment with the Prussian ambassador, at his palace: 
but, while Mr. Strelamb was getting some papers in order 
for him, he sent for the under secretary, and gave him so 
many directions that I thought the under secretary must 
have the most wonderful memory in the world. At length 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL BOMANCE. 99 

my father left the room, saying as he quitted it, * Rest you 
here, Contarini.' 

I was consoled for this neglect by the consciousness that 
my feither was a very great man indeed. I had no idea of 
such a great man. I was filled with awe. I looked out of 
window to see him mount his horse ; but, just as he had 
got one foot in the stirrup, a carriage dashed up to the 
door ; my father withdrew his foot, and, saluting the person 
in the carriage, entered it. It was the Austrian ambassador. 
In ten minutes he came out ; but just as the steps were 
rattled up, and the chasseur had closed the door with his 
best air, my father returned to the carriage ; but he re- 
mained only a minute, and then, mounting his horse, gal- 
loped ojff. 

' This is, indeed, a great man,' I thought, * and I am his 
son.' I began to muse upon this idea of political greatness. 
The simple woodman, and his decorous cottage, and his 
free forest life recurred to my mind, unaccompanied by that 
feeling of satisfaction which I had hitherto associated with 
them, and were pictured in faded and rather insipid colours. 
Poetry and philosophy, and the delights of solitude, and 
the beauty of truth, and the rapture of creation, I know 
not how it was, they certainly did not figure in such para- 
mount beauty and . colossal importance as I had previously 
viewed them. I thought of my harassing hours of doubt 
and diffidence with disgust ; I sickened at the time wasted 
over imperfect efibrts at what, when perfect, seemed some- 
how of questionable importance. I was dissatisfied with 
my paist life. Ambassadors and chancellors, under secre- 
taries and private secretaries and public messengers flitted 
across my vision. I was sensibly struck at the contrast 
between all this greatness achieved, and moving before me 
in its quick and proud reality, and my weak meditations of 
unexecuted purposes, and dreamy visions of imaginary 
grandeur. I threw myself in my father's chair, took up a 

h2 



^ 



100 COXTAEINI FLEMING: 

pen, and insensibly to myself while I indulged in tliese 
reflections, scribbled Contarini Fleming over every paper, 
that offered itself for my signature. 

My &ther was a long while away. I fell into a profound 
reverie; he entered the room; I did not observe him; I 
was entirely lost. I was engaged in a conversation with 
both the Prussian and Austrian ambassadors together. My 
father called me ; I did not hear him. My eyes "were fixed 
on vacancy, but I was listening with the greatest attention 
to their Excellencies. My father approached, lifted me 
gently from his seat, and placed me in my original chair. 
I stared, looked up, and shook myself like a man awakened. 
He slightly smiled, and then seating himself shmgging up 
his shoulders at my labours, and arranging his papers, he 
said at the same time — 

* Now, Contarini, I wish you to tell me why you have 
left your college ? ' 

This was a home query, and entirely brought me to my- 
self. With the greatest astonishment I found that I had 
no answer. I did not speak, and my father commenced 
writing. In two or three instants he said, * Well, can you 
answer my question ? ' 

* Yes, sir,' I replied to gain time. 

* WeU ! tell me.' 

* Because, sir, because it was no use staying there.' 

* Why?' 

' Because I learned nothing.' 

* Were you the first boy in the school, or the last ? 
Had you learnt everything that they could teach you, or 
nothing ? ' 

*I was neither first nor last; not that I should be 
ashamed of being last where I consider it no honour to 
be first.' 

'Why not?' 

* Because I do not think it an enviable situation to be 
the first among the learners of words.' 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 101 

My father gave me a sharp glance, and then said, * Did 
you leave college because you considered that they taught 
you only words ? ' 

* Yes, sir ; and because I wish to learn ideas.' 

* Some silly book has filled your head, Contarini, with 
these ridiculous notions about the respective importance of 
words and ideas. Few ideas are correct ones, and what 
are correct no one can ascertain ; but with words we govern 
men.' 

This observation completely knocked up all my philo- 
sophy, and I was without an answer. 

* I tell you what, Contarini : I suspect that there must 
be some other reason for this step of yours. I wish you to tell 
it to me. If you were not making there that progress which 
every intelligent youth desires, such a circumstance might 
be a very good reason for your representing your state to 
your parent, and submitting it to his consideration ; but 
you, you have never complained to me upon the subject. 
You said nothing of the kind when you were last with me ; 
you never communicated it by letter. I never heard of a 
boy running away from school because they did not teach 
him sufficient, or sufficiently well. Your instructors do 
not complain of ybur conduct, except with regard to this 
step. There must be some other reason which induced you 
to adopt a measure which, I flatter myself, you have already 
learnt to consider as both extremely unauthorised and very 
injudicious.' 

I had a good mind to pour it all out. I had a good 
mind to dash Venice in his teeth, and let him chew it as 
he could. I was on the point of asking a thousand ques- 
tions, for a solution of which I had been burning all my 
life, but the force of early impressions was too strong. I 
shunned the fatal word, and remained silent, with a clouded 
brow, and my eyes fixed upon the ground. 

' Answer me, Contarini,' he continued ; *you know that 



102 COSTAEESI FLEMDkG : 

an I aak is Ofnhr for joar good. Answer me, GoulmDid ; I 
request that Ton answer me. Were joa mw* hh fi irtahle ? 
Were jou nnhappy r ' 

' I am always wnih&ppy,* I replied, in a gloomy tone. 

Mt &tlier moved round liis diair. ' You astoniah me, 
Contarini ! Unliappj ! always nnliapp v ! Wliy are yoa 
unhappy ? I should hare thought yon the happdesfc boy of 
my acqaaintanoe. I amsnre I cannot oonoeiTe what makes 
yoa nnhappy. Pray tell me. Is there anything yba want ? 
Have I done, has anybody done ai^iihing to annoy yoa ? 
Have yoa anything npon y oar mind ? ' 

I did not answer; my eyes were still fixed npon ihe 
ground, the tears stealing down my cheek, tears not of 
tenderness bat rage. 

* My dear Contarini,' oontinaed my &ther, ' I nmsf; in- 
deed earnestly request yoa to answer me. Throo^umt li& . 
yoa have never disobeyed me. Do not let to-day be an 
epodi of rebellion. Speak to mefirankly ; tell me why you 
are unhappy. 

' Because I have no one I love, because there is no one 
who loves me, because I hate this country, becaase I hate 
eveiything and everybody, because I hate myself' I rose 
from my seat and stamped about the room. 

My &ther was perfectly astounded. He had thought 
that I might possibly have got into debt, or had a ^Bj 
quarrel ; but he did not lose his self-command. 

* Sit down, Contarini,' he said, calmly. * Never give 
way to your feelings. Explain to me quietly what all this 
means. What book have you been reading to fill your 
head with all this nonsense ? What could have so suddenly 
altered your character ? ' 

* I have read no book ; my character is what it always 
was, and I have only expressed to-day, for the first time, 
what I have ever felt. Life is intolerable to me, and I 
wish to die.' 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 103 

* What can yon mean by persons not loving you ? ' re- 
sumed my father ; * I am sure the Baroness * 

' The Baroness ! ' I interrupted him in a sharp tone — 
* what is the Baroness to me ? Always this wretched 
nurseiy view of life, always considered an insignificant, 
unmeaning child! What is the Baroness and her petty 
persecutions to me ? Pah ! * 

I grew bold. The truth is my vanity was flattered by 
finding the man who was insensible to all, and before whom 
aU trembled, yield his sympathy and his time to me. I 
began to get interested in the interview. I was excited by 
this first conversation with a parent. My suppressed 
character began unconsciously to develop itself, and I un- 
intentionally gave way to my mind, as if I were in one of 
my own scenes. 

' I should be sorry if there were even petty persecutions,' 
said my father, * and equally so if you were insensible to 
them ; but I hope that you speak only under excited feel- 
ings. For your father, Contarini, I can at least answer 
that his conscience cannot accuse him of a deficiency in 
love for one who has such strong claims upon a fieither's 
affection. I can indeed say that I have taken no important 
step in life which had not for its ulterior purpose your 
benefit ; and what, think you, can sweeten this all-engross- 
ing and perhaps fatal labour, to which I am devoted, but 
the thought that I am toiling for the future happiness of 
my child ? You are young, Contarini. Some day you will 
become acquainted with the feelings of a father, and you 
will then blush with shame and remorse that you ever 
accused me of insensibility.* 

While he spoke I was greatly softened. The tears stole 
down my cheek. I leant my arm upon the table, and tried 
to shade my face with my hand. My father rose &om 
his seat, turned the key of the door, and resumed his place. 

'Occupied with affairs,* he resumed, * which do not 



104 COXTARINI FLEMING: 

always allow me sleep, I liave never found time for those 
slight parental offices which I do not think less delightM 
because it has been my misfortune not to fulfil or to enjoy 
them. But you, Contarini, have never been absent fix)m 
my thoughts, and I had considered that I had made such 
arrangements as must secure you the gratification of every 
innocent desire. But to-day I find, for the first time, that 
I have been mistaken for years. I regret it ; I wish, if 
possible, to compensate for my unhappy neglect, op rather 
unfortunate ignorance. Tell me, Contarini, what do yon 
wish me to do ? ' 

* Nothing, nothing,' I sobbed and sighed. 

* But if necessity have hitherto brought us less together 
than I could wish, you are now, Contarini, fast advancing 
to that period of life to which I looked forward as a con- 
solatory recompense for this deplorable estrangement. I 
hoped to find in you a companion. I hoped that I might 
have the high gratification of forming you into a great and 
a good man, that I might find in my son not merely a being 
to be cherished, but a friend, a counsellor, a colleague, yes ! 
Contarini, perhaps a 'successor.' 

I clasped my hands in agony, but restrained a cry. 

* And now,' he continued, * I am suddenly told, and by 
himself, that I have never loved him ; but still more painful, 
still more heartrending, is the accompanying declaration, 
which, indeed, is what I could not be prepared for. Mis- 
conception on his part, however improbable, might have 
accounted for his crediting my coldness ; but alas ! I have 
no room for hope or doubt. His plain avowal can never be 
misconstrued. I must then yield to the terrible conviction 
that I am an object of abhorrence to my child.' 

I flung myself at his feet, I seized his hand, I kissed it, 
and bathed it with my tears. 

* Spare me, oh ! spare me ! ' I faintly muttered. * Hence- 
forth I will be all you wish ! ' I clung upon his hand, I 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 105 

would not rise till he pardoned me. * Pardon me,' I said, 
' pardon me, I beseecli you, father, for I spoke in madness. 
Pardon me, pardon me, dear father ! It was in madness, 
for indeed there is something which comes over me some- 
times like madness, but now it will never come, because 
you love me. Only tell me that you love me, and I will 
always do eveiything. I am most grieved for what I said 
about the Baroness. She is too good ! I will never give 
you again an uneasy moment, not a single uneasy moment. 
ITow that I know that you love me, you may depend upon 
me, you may indeed. You may depend upon me for ever ! ' 

He smiled, and raised me from the ground, and kissed my 
forehead. * Compose yourself, dearest boy. Strelamb must 
soon come in. Try more to repress your feelings. There, 
sit down, and calm yourself.' 

He resumed his writing directly, and I sat sobbing my- 
self into composure. In about a quarter of an hour, he 
said, * I miLst send for Strelamb now, Contarini. If you 
go into the next room, you can wash your face.' 

When I returned, my father said, ' Come ! come ! you 
look quite blooming. By the bye, you are aware what a 
very strange figure you are, Contarini? After being 
closeted all the morning with me, they will think, from 
your costume, that you are a foreign ambassador. Now go 
home and dress, for I have a large dinner party to-day, 
and I wish you to dine with me. There are several persons 
whom you should know. And, if you like, you may take 
my horses, for I had rather walk home.' 



CHAPTER XXIL 



I WAS SO very happy that, for some iime, I did not think of 
the appalling effort that awaited me. It was not till I had 
fairly commenced dressing that I remembered that in th(5 



106 CONTAEmi FLEMING: 

course of an hour, for the first time in my life, I was to 
enter a room full of strangers, conducting themselves "with 
ease, in all that etiquette of society in which I was entirely 
unpractised. My heart misgave me. I wished myself again 
in the forest. I procrastinated my toilet to the last pos^hle 
moment. Ignorant of the art of dress, I found myself 
making a thousand experiments, all of which &iled. The 
more I consulted my glass the less favourable was the im- 
pression. I brushed my hair out of curl. I confined my 
neck for the first time in a cravat. Each instant my 
appearance became more awkward, more formal, and more 
ineffective. At last I was obliged to go down ; and, less at 
my ease, and conscious of appearing worse than ever I did 
in my Hfe, at the only moment of that life in which appear- 
ance had been of the slightest consequence, and had ever 
occupied my thoughts, I entered the room at a side door. 
It was very full, as I had expected. I stole in without 
being observed, which a little re-animated my courage. I 
looked round in vain for a person I knew ; I crept to a 
comer. All seemed at their ease. All were smiling ; all 
exchanging words, if not ideas. The women all appeared 
beautiful, the men all elegant. I painiully felt my wretched 
inferiority. I watched the Baroness, magnificently attired 
and sparkling with diamonds, wreathed with smiles, and 
scattering without effort phrases which seemed to diffuse 
universal pleasure. This woman, whom I had presumed to 
despise and dared to insult, became to me an object of 
admiration and of envy. She even seemed to me beautifuL 
I was bewildered. 

Suddenly a gentleman approached me. It was the under 
secretary. I was delighted by his notice. I answered his 
many uninteresting questions about every school pastime, 
which I detested, as if I felt the greatest interest in their 
recollection. All that I desired was that he would not 
leave me, that I might at least appear to be doing what the 
others were, and might be supposed to be charmed, although 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 107 

I was in torture. At length, he walked off to another 
group, and I found myself once more alone, apparently 
without a single chance of keeping up the ball. I felt as if 
every one were watching with wonder the strange, awkward, 
ugly, silent boy. I coined my cheek iato a base smile, but 
I found that it would not pass. I caught the eye of the 
Baroness ; she beckoned me to come to her. I joined her 
-without delay. She introduced me to a lady who was 
sitting at her side. This lady had a son at the college, and 
asked me many questions. I answered in a nervous, rapid 
manner, as if her son were my most intimate friend, gave 
the anxious mother a complete detail of all his occupations, 
and praised the institution up to the seventh heaven. I 
was astonished at the tone of affection with which the 
Baroness addressed me, at the interest which she took in 
everything which concerned me. It was ever * Contarini, 
dear,' * Contarini, my love,' * You have been ridiug to-day. 
Where have you been? I have hardly had time to speak to 
you. He only came home to-day. He is looking vastly 
well.' *Very well, indeed,' *Veiy much grown.' *0h! 
amazingly.' * Quite a beau for you, Baroness.' * Oh! yes, 
quite delightful.' 

What amiable people ! I thought, and what would I give 
to be once more in old Wiuter's cottage ! 

The door opened; the Chevalier de Winter was an- 
nounced. My fellow-traveller entered the room, though I 
could scarcely recognise him in his rich and even fanciful 
dress, and adorned with his brilliant order. I was struck 
with his fine person, his noble carriage, and his highly- 
polished manner. Except my father, I had never seen so 
true a nobleman. The Baron went forward to receive him 
with his most courteous air and most fasdnating snule. 
I withdrew as he led him to my mother. I watched the 
Baroness as she rose to greet him. I was surprised at the 
warmth of her welcome, and the tone of consideration with 
which she received him. Some of the guests, who were the 



108 CONTAKINI FLEMING : 

highest nobles in the country, requested my father to pre- 
sent them to him : with others Winter was already ac- 
quainted, and they seemed honoured by his recognition. 

' This also is a great man,' I exclaimed, ' but of a diffe- 
rent order.' Old feelings began to boil up from the abyss 
in which I had plunged them. I sympathised with this 
great and triumphant artist. In a few days it seemed that 
the history of genius had been acted before me for my 
instruction, and for my encouragement. A combination of 
circumstances had allowed me to trace this man &om his 
first hopeless obscurity. I had seen all; the strong predis- 
position, the stubborn opposition of fortune, the first efforts, 
the first doubts, the paramount conviction, the long 
struggle, the violated ties, the repeated flights, the deep 
studies, the sharp discipline, the great creation, and the 
glorious triumph. 

My father, crossing the room, saw me. * Contarini,' he 
said, * where have you been all this time ? I have been 
often looking for you. Come with me, and I will introduce 
you to the Chevalier de Winter, one of the first painters in 
the world, and who has just come from Rome. You must 
go and see his pictures ; every one is talking of them. 
Always know eminent men, and always be master of the 
subject of the day. Chevalier,' for we had now come up 
to him, * my son desires your acquaintance.' 

' Ah ! fellow-traveller, welcome, welcome ; I told you we 
should soon meet again,' and he pressed my hand with 
warmth. 

* Sir, I had a prescience that I had been the companion 
of a great man.' 

This was pretty well said for a bashful youth, but it was 
really not a compliment. The moment I addressed Winter, 
I resumed unconsciously my natural tone, and reminded 
by his presence that higher accomplishments and qualities 
existed than a mere acquaintance with etiquette, and the 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 109 

vivacity which could enliven the passages of ordinary con- 
versation, I began to feel a little more at my ease. 

Dinner was announced. The table was round. I sat 
between the under secretary and the lady to whom I had 
been introduced. The scene was a novel one, and I was 
astonished at observing a magnificent repast, which all 
seemed to pique themselves upon tasting as little as 
possible. They evidently assemble here, then, I thought, 
for the sake of conversation ; yet how many are silent, and 
what is said might be omitted. But I was then ignorant 
of the purposes for which human beings are brought 
together. My female companion, who was a little wearied 
by a great general, who, although a hero and a strategist, 
was soon beaten and bewildered in a campaign of repartee, 
turned round to amuse herself with her other supporter. 
Her terrific child was again introduced. I had drunk a 
glass or two of wine, and altogether had, in a great degree, 
recovered my self-possession. I could support her tattle 
no longer. I assured the astonished mother that I had 
never even heard of her son ; that, if really at college, he 
must be in a difierent part of the establishment, and that I 
had never met him ; that I did not even know the name ; 
that the college was a very bad college indeed, that nobody 
learnt anything there, that I abhorred it, and hoped that I 
should never return ; and then I asked her to do me the 
honour of taking wine. 



CHAPTER XXin. 



The day after the party, I went with the Baroness to see 
the great pictures of Winter in the Royal Academy of Arts. 
Both of them seemed to be magnificent ; but one, which 
was a national subject, and depicted the emancipating 
exploits of one of the heroic monarchs, was the most 



110 CONTAEINI ELEMING: 

popular. I did not feel so mucli interested with this. I 
did not sympathise with the gloomy savage scene, the 
hlack pine forests, the rough mountains, the feudal forms 
and dresses; but the other, which was of a different 
character, afforded me exquisite delight. It represented a 
procession going up to sacrifice at a temple in & Grecian 
isle. The bnlliant colouring, the beauti^ and beauiifiiUy- 
clad forms, the dehcate Ionian fane, seated on a soft 
acclivity covered with sunny trees, the classical and lovely 
back-ground, the deep-blue sea, broken by a tall white 
scudding-sail, and backed by undulating and azure moun- 
taios; I stood before it in a trance; a crowd of ideas 
swiftly gathered in my mind. It was a poem. 

After this I called upon Winter and found him in his 
studio. Many persons were there, and of high degree. It 
was the first time I had ever been in the studio of an 
artist. I was charmed with all I saw; the infinite sketches, 
the rough studies, the unfinished pictures, the lay figure, 
the beautiful cast, and here and there some choice relic of 
antiquity, a torso, a bust, or a gem. I remained here the 
whole morning examining his Venetian sketches, and a day 
seldom passed over that I did not drop in to pay my 
devotions at this delightful temple. 

I was indeed so much at home, that if he were engaged, 
I resumed my portfoHo without notice, so that in time I 
knew perhaps more about Venice than many persons who 
had passed their whole Hves there. 

When I had been at home a fortnight, my father one 
day invited me to take a ride with him, and began con- 
versing with me on my plans. He said that he did not 
wish me to return to college, but that he thought me at 
least a year too young to repair to the university, whither 
on every account he desired me to go. * We should con- 
sider then,' he continued, ' how this interval can be turned 
to the greatest advantage. I wish you to mix as much as is 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. Ill 

convenient with society. I apprehend that yon have, perhaps, 
hitherto indulged a little too much in lonely habits. Young 
men are apt to get a little abstracted, and occasionally to 
think that there is something singular in their nature, 
when the fact is, if they were better acquainted with their 
fellow creatures, they would find they were mistaken. 
This is a common error, indeed the commonest. I am not 
at all surprised that you have fallen into it. All have. 
The most practical, business-Hke men that exist have, many 
of them, when children, conceived themselves totally dis- 
qualified to struggle in the world. You may rest assured 
of this. I could mention many remarkable instances. All 
persons, when young, are fond of solitude, and when they 
are beginning to think, are sometimes surprised at their 
own thoughts. There is nothing to be deplored, scarcely 
to be feared, in this. It almost always wears off; but 
sometimes it happens that they have not judicious fidends 
by them to explara, that the habits which they think 
peculiar are universal, and, if unreasonably indulged, can 
ultimately only turn them into indolent, insignificant mem- 
bers of socieiy, and occasion them lasting unhappiness.' 

I made no reply, but gave up all idea of writing a tale, 
which was to embrace both Venice and Ghreece, and which 
I had been for some days meditating. 

* But to enter society with pleasure, Contarini, you must 
be qualified for it. I think it quite time for you to make 
yourself master of some accomplishments. Decidedly you 
should make yourself a good dancer. Without dancing you 
can never attain a perfectly graceful carriage, which is of 
the highest importance in life, and should be eveiy man's 
ambition. You are yet too young fully to comprehend 
how much in life depends upon manner. Whenever you 
see a man who is successful in society, try to discover what 
makes hinn pleasing, and if possible adopt his system. You 
should learn to fence. For languages, at present, French 



112 CONTAEmi FLEMING: 

will be sufficient. You speak it fairly; try to speak it 
elegantly. Bead French, authors. Read Bochefoucault. 
The French writers are the finest in the world, for they 
clear our heads of all ridiculous ideas. Study precision. 

* Do not talk too much at present ; do not try to talk. 
But whenever you speak, speak with self-possession. Speak 
in a subdued tone, and always look at the person whom you 
are addressing. Before one can engage in general conver- 
sation with any effect, there is a certain acquaintance with 
trifling but amusing subjects which must be first attained. 
You will soon pick up sufficient by listening and observing. 
Never argue. In society nothing must be discussed ; give 
only results. If any person differ from you, bow and turn 
the conversation. In society never think ; always be on 
the watch, or you will miss many opportunities and say 
many disagreeable things. 

' Talk to women, talk to women as much as you can. 
This is the best school. This is the way to gain fluency, 
because you need not care what you say, and had better 
not be sensible. They, too, will rally you on many points, 
and as they are women you will not be offended. Nothing 
is of so much importance and of so much use to a young 
man entering life as to be well criticised by women. It is 
impossible to get rid of those thousand bad habits which we 
pick up in boyhood, without this supervision. Unfortu- 
nately you have no sisters. But never be offended if a 
woman rally you ; encourage her, otherwise you will never 
be free from your awkwardness or any little oddities, and 
certainly never learn to dress. 

* You ride pretty well, but you had better go through 
the manege. Every gentleman should be a perfect cavalier. 
You shall have your own groom and horses, and I wish you 
to ride regularly every day. 

* As you are to be at home for so short a time, and for 
other reasons, I think it better that you should not have a 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 113 

tator in the house. Parcel out your morning then for your 
separate masters. Rise early and regularly and read for 
three hours. Bead the Memoirs of the Cardinal de Eetz, 
the Life of Richelieu, everything about Napoleon: read 
works of that kind. Strelamb shall prepare you a list. 
Read no history, nothing but biography, for that is life 
without theory. Then fence. Talk an hour with your 
French master, but do not throw the burden of the conver- 
sation upon him. Give him an account of something. 
Describe to him the events of yesterday, or give him a 
detailed account of the constitution. You will have then 
sufficiently rested yourself for your dancing. And after 
that ride and amuse yourself as much as you can. Amuse- 
ment to an observing mind is study.' 

I pursued the system which my father had pointed out 
with exactness, and soon with pleasure. I sacredly ob- 
served my hours of reading, and devoted myself to the 
study of the lives of what my father considered really great 
men ; that is to say, men of great energies and violent vo- 
lition, who look upon their fellow-creatures as mere tools, 
with which they can build up a pedestal for their solitary 
statue, and who sacrifice every feeling which should sway 
humanity, and every high work which genius should really 
achieve, to the short-sighted gratification of an irrational 
and outrageous selfism. As for my manners, I flattered 
myself that they advanced in measure v^ith my mind, al- 
though I already emulated Napoleon. I soon overcame the 
fear which attended my first experiments in society, and by 
scrupulously observing the paternal maxims, I soon became 
very self-satisfied. I listened to men with a delightful 
mixture of deference and self-confidence : were they old, 
and did I differ from them, I contented myself by positively 
stating my opinion in a subdued voice, and then either 
turning the subject or turning upon my heel. But as for 
women, it is astonishing how well I got on. The nervous 

I 



114 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

rapidity of my first rattle soon subsided into a continuous 
flow of easy nonsense. Impertinent and flippant, I "was 
nniversally hailed an original and a wit. But the most 
remarkable incident was, that the Baroness and myself 
became the greatest friends. I was her constant attendant 
and rehearsed to her flattered ear all my evening perform- 
ance. She was the person with whom I practised, and as 
she had a taste in dress I encouraged her opinions. Un- 
conscious that she was at once my lay figure and my mirror, 
she loaded me with presents, and announced to aU her 
coterie that I was the most delightful young man of her 
acquaintance. 

From all this it may easily be suspected that at ihe age 
of fifteen I had unexpectedly become one of the most 
aflected, conceited, and intolerable atoms that ever peopled 
the sunbeam of society. 

A few days before I qxdtted home for the university, I 
paid a feirewell visit to Winter, who was himself on the 
point of returning to B^jme. 

* Well, my dear Chevalier, ' I said, seizing his hand, and 
speaking in a voice of aflected interest, ' I could not think 
of leaving town without seeing you. I am off to-morrow, 
and you; you, too, are going. But what a difference^ a 
Gt)thic university and immortal Rome ! Pity n;ie, my dear 
Chevalier,* and I shrugged my shoulders. 

* Oh! yes, certainly ; I think you are to be pitied.' 

* And how does the great work go on ? Your name is 
everywhere. I assure you. Prince Besborodko was speaking 
to me last night of nothing else. By-the-bye, shall you be 
at the Opera to-night ? ' 

*I do not know.* 

* Oh ! you must go. I am sorry I have not a box to 
offer you. But the Baroness's, I am sure, is always at your 
service.' 

* You are vastly kind.' 



I 



A PSYCHOLOaiCAL EOMANCE. 115 

* 'Tis tlie most clianm'ng opera. I think his masterpiece. 
Tliat diyine air ; I hum it all day. I do indeed. What a 
genius ! I can bear no one else. Decidedly the greatest 
composer that ever existed.* 

* He is certainly very great, and you are no doubt an 
excellent judge of his style ; but the air you meant to hum 
is an introduction, and by Pacini.' 

* Is it, indeed ? Ah ! Italy is the land of music. We men 
of the north must not speak of it.' 

* Why is Italy the land of music ? Why not Gerpiany ? ' 

* Perhaps music is more cultivated in Germany at present, 
but do not you think that it is, as it were, more indigenous 
in Italy?' 

*No.' 

As I never argued, I twirled my cane, and asked his 
opinion of a new casino. 

* Ah ! by-the-bye, is it true, Chevalier, that you have at 
last agreed to pauit the Princess Royal ? I tell you what 
I recommend you seriously to do, most seriously, I assure 
you most decidedly it is my opinion ; most important thing, 
indeed, should not be neglected a day. Certainly I should 
not think of going to Italy without doing it.' 

*Well. WeU!' 

' Countess Amfeldt, Chevalier. By heavens she is divine ! 
What a neck, and what a hand ! A perfect study.' 
*Poh!' 

* Do not you really think so ? Well, I see I am terribly 
breaking into your morning. Adieu ! Let us hope we 
may soon meet again. Perhaps at Home; who knows? 
Au revoir.' 

I kissed my hand, and tripped out of the room in all the 
charming falness of a perfectly graceful manner. 

END OF PART THE FIRST. 
l2 



IIG 



PAET THE SECOND. 



CHAPTER I. 

Our schoolboy days are looked baxsk to by all witli fond- 
ness. Oppressed with the cares of life, we contrast our 
worn and harrassed existence with that sweet prime, free 
from anxiety and fragrant with innocence. I cannot share 
these feelings. I was a most miserable child ; and school 
I detested more than ever I abhorred the world in the 
darkest moments of my experienced manhood. But the 
university, this new life yielded me different feelings, and 
still commands a gratefril reminiscence. 

My father, who studied to foster in me every worldly 
feeling, sought all means which might tend to make me 
enamoured of that world to which he was devoted. An 
extravagant allowance, a lavish establishment, many ser- 
vants, numerous horses, were forced upon rather than soK- 
cited by me. According to his system he acted dexterouslj. 
My youthful brain could not be insensible to the brilliant 
position in which I was placed. I was now, indeed, my 
own master, and everything around me announced that I 
could command a career flattering to the rising passions of 
my youth. I well remember the extreme self-complacency 
with which I surveyed my new apartments ; how instan- 
taneously I was wrapped up in all the mysteries of ftimi- 
ture, and how I seemed to have no other purpose in life 
than to play the honoured and honourable part of an 
elegant and accomplished host. 

My birth, my fortune' my convivial habits rallied aronnd 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 117 

me the noble and the gay, the flower of our society. 
Joyously flew our careless hours, while we mimicked the 
magnificence of men. I had no thought but for the present 
moment. I discoursed only of dogs and horses, of fanciful 
habiliments, and curious repasts. I astonished them by a 
new fashion, and decided upon the exaggerated charms of 
some ordinary female. How long the novelty of my life 
would have been productive of interest I know not. An 
incident occurred which changed my habits. 

A new Professor arrived at the universiiy. He was by 
birth a Gferman. I attended, by accident, his preliminary 
lecture on Grecian history. I had been hunting, and had 
suddenly returned home. Throwing my gown over my 
forest frock, I strolled, for the sake of change, into the 
theatre. I nodded with a smile to some of my acquaintance ; 
I glanced with listlessness at their instructor. His ab- 
stracted look, the massiness of his skull, his large luminous 
eye, his long grey hair, his earnest and impassioned manner, 
struck me. He discoursed on that early portion of Grecian 
histoiy which is entirely unknown. I was astonished at the 
fulness of his knowledge. That which to a common student 
appears but an inexplicable or barren tradition, became, in 
his magical mould, a record teeming with deep knowledge 
and picturesque interest. Hordes, who hitherto were only 
dimly distinguished wandering over the deserts of antiquity, 
now figured as great nations, multiplying in beautiful 
cities, and moving in the grand and progressive march of 
civilisation ; and I listened to animated narratives of their 
creeds, their customs, their manners, their philosophy, and 
their arts. I was deeply impressed with this mystical 
creation of a critical spirit. I was charmed with the blended 
profundity and imagination. I revelled in the sagacious 
audacity of his revolutionary theories. I yielded to the 
full spell of his archaic eloquence. The curtain was removed 
from the sacred ^hrine of antique ages, and an inspired 



118 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

prophet, ministermg in the sanctaary, exponnded the 
mysteries which had perplexed the imperfect intelligence 
of their remote posterity. 

The lecture ceased ; I was the first who broke into 
■plaudits ; I advanced ; I offered to onr master my con- 
gratulations and my homage. Now that his office had 
finished I foxind him the meekest, the most modetst and 
nervons being that ever trembled in society. With difficulty 
he wonld receive the respectfiil compliments of his pnpils. 
He bowed, and blushed, and disappeared. His reserve only 
interested me the more. I returned to my rooms, m.nsing 
over the high matters of his discourse. Upon my table was 
a letter &om one of my companions, fuU of ribald jests« I 
glanced at its uncongenial lines, and tossed it away unread. 
I fell into a reverie of Arcadian loveliness. A beautiful 
temple rose up in my mind like the temple in the picture 
of Winter. The door opened ; a band of loose "revellers 
burst into their accustomed gathering room. I was silent, 
reserved, cold, moody. Their inane observations amazed 
me. I shrunk &om their hollow tattle and the gibberish 
of their foul slang. Their unmeaning, idiotic shouts of 
laughter tortured me. I knew not how to rid myself of 
their infernal presence. At length one offered me a bet, 
and I rushed out of the chamber. 

I did not stop until I reached the room of the Professor. 
I found him buried in his books. He stared at my entrance. 
I apologised; I told him all I felt, all I wanted; the 
wretched life I was leading, my deep sympathy with his 
character, my infinite disgust at my own career, my un- 
bounded love of knowledge, and my admiration of himself. 

The simplicity of the Professor's character was not 
shocked by my firank enthusiasm. Had he been a man of 
the world he would have been alarmed, lest my strong feel- 
ing and unusual conduct should have placed us both in a 
ridiculous position. On the contrary, without a moment's 



k 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL KOMANCE, 119 

hesitation, he threw aside his papers and opened his heart 
to all my wants. My imperfect knowledge of the Greek 
language was too apparent. Nothing could be done until 
I mastered it. He explained to me a novel and philoso- 
phical mode of acquiring a j^ll acquaintance with it. As 
we proceeded in our conversation, he occasionaUy indicated 
the outlines of his grand system of metaphysics. I was 
fasGLoated by the gorgeous prospect of comprehending the 
unintelligible. The Professor was gratified by the effect 
that his first effusion had produced, and was interested by 
the ardour of my mind. He was flattered in finding an 
enthusiastic votary in one whose mode of life had hitherto 
promised anything but study, and whose position in society 
was perhaps an apology, if not a reason, for an irrational 
career. 

I announced to my companions that I was going to read. 
They stared, they pitied me. Some deemed the avowal 
affectation, and trusted that increased &olic would repay 
them for the abstinence of a week of application. Fleming 
with his books only exhibited a fresh instance of his studied 
eccentricity. But they were disappointed. I worked at 
Greek for twelve hours a day, and at the end of a month I 
had gained an ample acquaintance with the construction of 
the language, and a fdller one of its signification : so much 
can be done by an ardent and willing spirit. I had been 
for six or seven years nominally a Greek student, and had 
learnt nothing ; and how many persons waste even six or 
seven more and only find themselves in the same position ! 

I was amply rewarded for my toilsome effort. I felt the 
ennobling pride of learning. It is a fine thing to know that 
which is unknown to others ; it is still more dignified to 
remember that we have gained it by our own energies. 
The struggle after knowledge too is full of deHght. The 
intellectual chase, not less than the material one, brings 
firesh vigour to our pulses, and infinite palpitations of 



120 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

strange and sweet suspense. The idea that is gained with 
effort affords fax greater satisfaction than that which is 
acqiiired with dangerous facility. We dwell with, more 
fondness on the perfame of the flower which we have our- 
selves tended, than on the odour of that which we cull with 
carelessness, and cast away without remorse. The strength 
and sweetness of our knowledge depend upon the impression 
which it makes upon our own minds. It is the liveliness 
of the ideas that it affords which renders research so 
fascinating, so that a trifling fact or deduction, when dis- 
covered or worked out by our own brain, affords us 
infinitely greater pleasure than a more important truth 
obtained by the exertions of another. 

I thought only of my books, and was happy. I was 
emancipated from my painful selflsm. My days passed in 
unremitting study. My love of composition unconsciously 
developed itself. My note-books speedily filled, and my 
annotations soon swelled into treatises. Insensibly I had 
become an author. I wrote with facility, for I was master 
of my subject. I was fascinated with the expanding of my 
own mind. I resolved to become a great historical writer. 
Without intention I fixed upon subjects in which imagina- 
tion might assist erudition. I formed gigantic schemes 
which many lives could not have accomplished : yet was I 
sanguine that I should achieve all. I mused over an 
original style, which was to blend profound philosophy 
and deep learning and brilliant eloquence. The nature of 
man and the origin of nations were to be expounded in 
glowing sentences of oracular majesty. 

Suddenly the University announced a gold medal for 
the writer of the ablest treatise upon the Dorian people. 
The subject delighted me; for similar ones had already 
engaged my. notice, and I determined to be a candidate. 

I shut myself up from all human beings ; I collected all 
the variety of information that I could glean from the most 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 121 

ancient anthors, and the rarest modern treatises. I monlded 
the crude matter into luminous order. A theory sprang 
out of the confused mass, like light out of chaos. The 
moment of composition commenced. I wrote the first 
sentence while in chapel, and under the influence of music. 
It sounded like the organ that inspired it. The whole was 
composed in my head before T committed it to paper ; 
composed in my daily rides, and while pacing my chamber 
at midnight. The action of my body seemed to lend vitality 
to my mind. 

N"ever shall I forget the moment when I finished the last 
sentence of my fair copy, and, sealing it, consigned it with 
a motto to the Principal. It was finished, and at the very 
instant my mind seemed exhausted, my power vanished. 
The excitement had ceased. I dashed into the forest, and, 
throwing myself under a tree, passed the first of many days 
that flew away in perfect indolence and vague and un- 
meaning reverie. 

In spite of my great plans, which demanded the devotion 
of a life, and were to command the admiration of a grateftil 
and enlightened world, I was so anxious about the fate of 
my prize essay that all my occupations suddenly ceased. 
I could do nothing. I could only think of sentences which 
might have been more musical, and deductions which 
might have been more logically true. Now that it was 
finished I felt its imperfectness. Week after week I grew 
more desponding, and on the very morning of the decision 
I had entirely discarded all hope. 

It was announced : the medal was awarded, and to me. 
Amid the plaudits of a crowded theatre, I recited my 
triumphant essay. Full of victory, my confident voice lent 
additional euphony to the flowing sentence, and my bright 
firm eye added to the acuteness of my reasoning, and 
enforced the justice of my theory. I was entirely satisfied. 
No passage seemed weak. Noble, wealthy, the son of the 



122 CONTARINI TXEMING: 

minister, congratnlations cajoae thick upon me. The seniors 
complimented each other on such an example to the students. 
I was the idol of the university. The essay was printed, 
lavishly praised in all the journals, and its author, fvOl of 
youth and promise, hailed as the future ornament of his 
country. I returned to my father in a blaze of glory. 



CHAPTER n. 



I ADDBESSED him with the confidence that I was now a 
man, and a distinguished man. My awe of his character 
had greatly worn off. I was most cordial to the Baroness, 
but a slight strain of condescension was infosed into my 
courtesy. I had long ceased to view her with dislike ; on 
the contrary, I had even become her prot^g6. That was 
now over. We were not less warm, but I was now the 
protector ; and if there were a slight indication of pique or 
a chance ebullition of temper, instead of their calling forth 
any similar sentiments on my side, I only bowed with 
deference to her charms, or mildly smiled on the engaging 
weaknesses of the inferior sex. I was not less self-conceited 
or less affected than before, but my self-conceit and my 
affectation were of a nobler nature. I did not consideor 
myself a less finished member of society, but I was also 
equally proud of being the historiographer of the Dorians. 
I was never gloomy ; I was never in. repose. Self-satis£EU> 
tion sparkled on my countenance, and my carriage was 
agitated with the earnestness and the excitement with 
which I busied myself with the trivial and the iaite. My 
father smiled, half with delight and half with humour, 
upon my growing consciousness of importance, and intro- 
duced me to his Mends with increased satis&ction. He 
even listened to me while, one day afber dinner, I disserted 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 123 

upon the Pelasgi ; but when he found that I believed in 
innate ideas, he thought that my self-delusion began to 
grow serious. 

As he was one of those men who believed that, directly 
to oppose a person in his opinions is a certain mode of 
confirming him in hk error, he attacked me by a masked 
battery. Affecting no want of interest in my pursuits, he 
said to me one day in a careless tone, ' Contarini, I am no 
great Mend to reading, but as you have a taste that way, 
if I were you, during the vacation, I would turn over 
Voltaire.' 

N'ow I had never read any work of Voltaire's. The 
truth is, I had no great opinion of the philosopher of 
Femey ; for my friend, the Professor, had assured me that 
Voltaire knew nothing of the Dorians, that his Hebrew 
also was invariably incorrect^ and that he was altogether a 
superficial person: but I chanced to follow my feither's 
counsel. 

I stood before the hundred volumes; I glanced with 
indifference upon the wondrous and witching shelf. His- 
tory, poetry, philosophy, the lucid narrative, and the wild 
invention, and the unimpassioned truth, they were all 
before me, and with my ancient weakness for romance I 
drew out Zadig. Never shall I forget the effect this work 
produced on me. What I had been long seeking offered 
itself. This strange mixture of brilliant fantasy and poignant 
truth, this unrivalled blending of ideal creation and worldly 
wisdom, it all seemed to speak to my two natures. I 
wandered a poet in the streets of Babylon, or on the banks 
of the Tigris. A philosopher and a statesman, I moralised 
over the condition of man and the nature of government. 
The style enchanted me. I delivered myself up to the ftdl 
abandonment of its wild and brilliant grace. 

I devoured them all, volume after volume. Morning, and 
night, and noon, a volume was ever my companion. I ran 



124 CONTAEINI FLEMING: 

to it after my meals, it reposed tuider my pillow. As I 
read I roared, I laughed, I shouted with wonder and admi- 
ration ; I trembled with indignation at the fortunes of my 
race ; my bitter smile sympathised with the searching 
ridicule and withering mockery. 

Pedants, and priests, and tyrants ; the folios of dunces, 
the fires of inquisitors, and the dungeons of kings ; and the 
long, dull system of imposture and misrule that had sat 
like a gloating incubus on the fair neck of Kature ; and all 
our ignorance, and all our weakness, and all our folly, and 
all our infinite imperfection, I looked round, I thought 
of the dissertation upon the Dorians, and I considered 
myself the most contemptible of my wretched species. 

I returned to the university. I rallied round me my old 
companions, whom I had discarded in a fit of disgusting 
pedantry, but not now merely to hold high revels. The 
goblet indeed stiU circled, but a bust of the author of 
* Candide' over the head of the president warned us, with 
a smile of prophetic derision, not to debase ourselves ; and 
if we drank deep, our potations were perhaps necessary to 
refresh the inexperienced efforts of such novices in phi- 
losophy. Yet we made way ; even the least literary read 
the romances, or parts of the Philosophical Dictionary ; the 
emancipation of our minds was rapidly effecting ; we en- 
tirely disembarrassed ourselves of prejudice ; we tried every- 
thing by the test of first principles, and finally we resolved 
ourselves into a secret union for the amelioration of society. 

Of this institution I had the honour of being elected 
president by acclamation. My rooms were the point of 
meeting. The members were in number twelve, chiefly 
my equals in rank and fortune. One or two of them were 
youths of talent, and not wholly untinctured by letters ; 
the rest were ardent, delighted with the novelty of what 
they did and heard, and, adopting our thoughts, arrived at 
conclusions the truth of which they did not doubt. 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 125 

My great reputation at the university long prevented 
these meetings from being viewed with suspicion, and 
when the revolutionary nature of our opinions occasionally 
developed itself in a disregard for the authorities by some 
of our society, who perhaps considered such licence as the 
most delightful portion of the new philosophy, my interest 
often succeeded in stifling a public explosion. In course of 
time, however, the altered tenor of my own conduct could 
no longer be concealed. My absence from lectures had 
long been overlooked, from the conviction that the time 
thus gained was devoted to the profiindity of private 
study ; but the systematic assembly at my rooms of those 
who were most eminent for their disregard of discipline 
and their neglect of study could no longer be treated with 
inattention, and after several intimations from inferior 
officers, I was summoned to the presence of the High 
Principal. 

This great personage was a clear-headed, cold-minded, 
unmanageable individual. I could not cloud his intellect or 
control his purpose. My ever-successftil sophistry and my 
ever-fluent speech failed. At the end of every appeal he 
recurred to his determination to maintain the discipline of 
of the university^ and repeated with firmness that this was 
the last time our violation of it should be privately noticed. 
I returned to my rooms in a dark rage. My natural im- 
patience of control and hatred of responsibility, which had 
been kept off of late years by the fondness for society 
which developed itself with my growing passions, came 
back upon me. I cursed authority ; I paced my room like 
Catiline. 

At this moment my accustomed companions assembled. 
They were ignorant of what had passed, but they seemed 
to me to look like conspirators. Moody and ferocious, I 
headed the table, and filling a bumper, I drank confusion 
to all government. They were surprised at such a novel 



126 CONTAEINI FLEMING ; 

commencemeiit, for in general we only arrived at this great 
result by the growing and trixunphant truths of a long 
evening ; but they received my proposition, as indeed they 
ever did, with a shout. 

The wine warmed me. I told them alL I even exag- 
gerated in my rage the annoying intelligence. I described 
our pleasant meetings about to cease for ever. I denounced 
the iniquitous system, which would tear us firom the pur- 
suit of real knowledge and ennobling truths, knowledge 
that illuminated, and truths that should support the des- 
tinies of existing man, to the deplorable and disgusting 
study of a small collection of imperfect volumes, written by 
Greeks and preserved by Goths. It was bitter to think 
that we must part. Surely socieiy, cruel society, would 
too. soon sever the sweet and agreeable ties that bound our 
youth. Why should we ever be parted ? Why, in pur- 
suance of an unnatural system, abhorred by all of us, why 
were we to be dispersed, and sent forth to delude the world 
in monstrous disguises of priests, and soldiers, and states- 
men ? Out upon such hypocrisy ! A curse light upon the 
craven knave who would not struggle for his salvation 
fix)m such a monotonous and degrading doom ! The world 
was before us. Let .us seize it in our prime. Let us hasten 
away ; let us form in some inviolate solitude a socieiy 
founded upon the eternal principles of truth and justice. 
Let us fly from the feudal system. Nobles and wealthy, 
let us cast our titles to the winds, and our dross to the 
earth which produced it. Let us pride ourselves only on 
the gifts of nature, and exist only on her beneficence. 

I ceased, and three loud rounds of cheering announced 
to the High Principal and all his slaves that we had not 
yielded. 

We drank deep. A proposition came forth with the 
wine of every glass. We all talked of America. Already 
we viewed ourselves in a primseval forest, existing by the 



^ 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 127 

cliase, to whicli many of us were devoted. The very ne- 
cessaoy toil of life seemed, in such an existence, to consist 
of what in this worn-out world was considered the choicest 
pastime and the highest pleasure. And the rich climate, 
and the simple maimers, and the intelligible laws, and the 
fair aborigines who must be attracted by such interesting 
strangers, all hearts responded to the glowing vision. I 
alone was grave and thoughtfal. The remembrance of 
Master Frederick and the Venetian expedition, although 
now looked back to as a childish scrape, rendered me 
nevertheless the most practical of the party. I saw imme- 
diately the invincible difi&culty of our reaching with success 
such a distant land. I lamented the glorious times when 
the forests of our own northern land could afford an asylum 
to the brave and free. 

The young Count de Pahlen was a great hunter. Wild 
in his life and daring in his temper, he possessed at the 
same time a lively and not uncultivated intellect. He had 
a taste for poetry, and, among other accomplishments, was 
an excellent actor. He rose up as I spoke, like a volcano 
out of the sea. * I have it, Fleming, I have it ! ' he shouted, 
with a dancing eye and exulting voice. ' You know the 
great forest of Jonstema. Often have I hunted in it. The 
forest near us is but, as it were, a huge root of that vast 
woodland. Nearly in its centre is an ancient and crumb- 
ling castle, which, like all old ruins, is of course haunted. 
No peasant dare approach it. At its very mention the 
face of the forest farmer will grow grave and serious. Let 
us fly to it. Let us become the scaring ghosts whom all 
avoid. We shall be free from man, we shall live only for 

ourselves, we ' but his proposition was drowned in our 

excited cheers, and rising together, we all pledged a sacred 
vow to stand or fell by each other in this great struggle 
for freedom and for nature. 

The • night passed in canvassing plans to render this 



128 CONTABINI FLEMING: 

mighty scheme -practicable. The first point was to baffle 
all inquiries after onr place of refdge, and to throw all 
pursuers off the scent. We agreed that on a certain day 
we should take our way, in small and separate parties, by 
different routes to the old castle, which we calculated was 
about sixty miles distant. Each man was to bear with 
him a rifle, a sword, and pistols, a travelling cloak, his 
knapsack, and as much aitimunition as he could himself 
carry. Our usual hunting dress afforded an excellent 
uniform, and those who were without it were immediately 
to supply themselves. We were to quit the university 
without notice, and each of us on the same day was to 
write to his friends to notify his sudden departure on a 
pedestrian tour in Norway. Thus we calculated to gain 
time and effectually to baffle pursuit. 

In spite of our lavish allowances, as it ever happens 
among young men, money was wanting. All that we 
possessed was instantly voted a common stock, but several 
men requii-ed rifles, and fimds were deficient. I called for 
a crucible: I opened a cabinet: I drew out my fiEimous 
gold medal. I gazed at it for a moment, and the classic 
cheers amid which it had been awarded seemed to rise 
upon my ear. I dashed away the recollection, and in a 
few minutes the splendid reward of my profound researches 
was melting over the fire, and affording the means of our 
full equipment. 



CHAPTER ni. 



It was the fourth morning of our journey. My companion 
was Ulric de Brahe. He was my only junior among the 
band, delicate of frame and affectionate in disposition, 
though hasty if excited, but my enthusiastic admirer. He 
was my great friend, and I was almost as intent to support 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 129 

him under the fjatigue, as about the success of our enter- 
prise. In our progress I had bought a donkey of a farmer, 
and loaded it with a couple of kegs of the brandy of the 
country. We had travelled the last two days entirely in 
the forest, passing many farm-houses and several villages, 
and as we beheved were now near our point of rendezvous. 
I kicked on the donkey before me, and smiled on XJlric. 
I would have carried his rifle as well as my own, but his 
ardent temper and devoted love supported him ; and when 
I expressed my anxiety about his toil, he only laughed and 
redoubled his pace. 

We were pushing along on an old turf road cut through 
the thick woods, when suddenly, at the end of a side vista, 
I beheld the tower of a castle. * Jonstema ! ' I shouted, and 
I ran forward without the donkey. It was more distant 
than it appeared ; but at length we came to a large piece 
of clear land, and at the other side of it we beheld the long 
dreamt-of building. It was a vast structure, rather dilapi- 
dated than ruined. With delight I observed a human 
being moving upon the keep, whom I recognised by his 
uniform to be one of us, and as we approached nearer we 
distinguished two or three of our co-mates stretched upon 
the turf. They all jumped up and ran forward to welcome 
us. How heartily we shook hands, and congratulated each 
other on our re-union! More than half were already 
assembled. All had contrived, besides their own equip- 
ments, to bring something for the common stock. There 
was plenty of bread, and brandy, and game. Some were 
already out collecting wood. Before noon the rest arrived, 
except Pahlen and his comrade. 'And they came at last, 
and we received them with a cheer, for the provident vice- 
president, like an ancient warrior, was seated in a cart. 
* Do not suppose that I am done up, my boys,' said the gay 
dog ; * I have brought gunpowder.' 

When we had all assembled we rushed into the castle, 

K 



130 CONTAKINI FLEMING: 

and in the true spirit of boyhood examined everything. 
There was a large knights' hall, covered with tapestry and 
tattered banners. It was settled that this shonld be our 
chief apartment. We even fonnd a hnge oak-table and 
some other rude and ancient fdmitnre. We appointed 
committees of examination. Some surveyed the cellars and 
dungeons, some the out-buildings. We were not afraid of 
ghosts, but marvellously fearful that we might have been 
anticipated by some human beings, as wild and less philo- 
sophical than ourselves. It was a perfect solitude. We 
cleared and cleaned out the hall, lighted an immense fire, 
arranged our stores, appointed their keeper, made beds 
with our cloaks, piled our arms, and cooked our dinner. 
An hour after sunset our first meal was prepared, and the 
Secret Union for the Amelioration of Society resumed their 
sittings aknost in a savage state. 

I shall never forget the scene and the proud exultation 
with which I beheld it : the vast and antique hall, the 
mystic tapestry moving and moaning with every gust of 
the windy night, the deep shades of the distant comers, the 
flickering light flung by the blazing hearth and the huge 
pine torches, the shining arms, the rude but plenteous 
banquet, the picturesque revellers, and I, their president, 
with my sword pressing on a frame ready to dare all things. 
' This, this is existence ! ' I exclaimed. * Oh ! let us live by 
OUT own right arms, and let no law be stronger than our 
swords ! ' 

I was even surprised by the savage yell of exultation with 
which my almost unconscious exclamation was received. 
But we were like young tigers, who, for a moment tamed, 
had now for the first time tasted blood, and rushed back to 
their own nature. A band of philosophers, we had insen- 
sibly placed ourselves in the most anti-philosophical posi- 
tion. Flying from the feudal system, we had unawares 
taken refuge in its favourite haunt. All our artificial 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL BOMANCB. 131 

theories of universal benevolence vanished. We deter- 
mined to be what fortune had suddenly made us. We 
discarded the abstract truths which had in no age of the 
world ever been practised, and were of course therefore 
impracticable. We smiled at our ignorance of human na- 
ture and ourselves. The Secret Union for the Amelioration 
of Society suddenly turned into a corps of bandits, and 
their philosophical president was voted their captain. 



CHAPTER ly. 



It was midnight. They threw themselves upon their rough 

couches, that they might wake fresh with the morning. 

Fatigue and brandy in a few minutes made them deep 

slumberers ; but I could not sleep. I flung a log upon the 

fire, and paced the hall in deep communion with my own 

thoughts. The Rubicon was passed. Farewell, my father, 

farewell, my step-country; farewell, literary invention, 

maudlin substitute for a poetic life ; farewell, effeminate 

arts of morbid civilisation! From this moment I ceased to 

be a boy. I was surrounded by human beings, bold and 

trusty, who looked only to my command, and I was to 

direct them to danger and guide them through peril. No 

child's game was this, no ideal play. We were at war, and 

at war with mankind. 

I formed my plans ; I organised the whole system. 

Action must be founded on knowledge. I would have no 

crude abortive efforts. Our colossal thoughts should not 

degenerate into a frolic. Before we commenced our career 

of violence, I was determined that I would have a thorough 

acquaintance with the country. Every castle and every 

farm-house should be catalogued. I longed for a map, that 

K 2 



132 CONTAHINI FLEMING: 

I might nmse over it like a general. I looked npon our 
good arms with complacency. I rejoiced that most of us 
were cunning of fence. I determined that they should 
daily exercise with the broadsword, and that each should 
become a dead shot with his rifle. In the perfection of our 
warlike accomplishments I sought a substitute for the 
weakness of our numbers. 

The morning at length broke. I was not in the least 
fatigued. I longed to commence my arrangements. It 
grew very cold. I slept for an hour. I was the first 
awake. I determined in future to have a constant guard. 
I roused Pahlen. He looked fierce in his sleep. I rejoiced 
in his determined visage. I appointed him my lieutenant. 
I impressed upon him how much I depended upon his 
energy. We lighted a large fire, arranged the chamber, 
and prepared their meal before any woke. I was deter- 
mined that their resolution should be supported by the 
comfort which they found around them ; I felt that cold 
and hunger are great sources of cowardice. 

They rose in high spirits : everything seemed delightM 
The mom appeared only a continuation of the enjoyment 
of the evening. When they were emboldened by a good 
meal, I developed to them my plans. I ordered XJlric de 
Brahe to be first on guard, a duty from which no one waa 
to be exempt but Pahlen and myself. The post was the 
tower which had given me the first earnest of their fealiyin 
assembling. No one could now approach the castle without 
being perceived, and we took measures that the guard shonld 
be perfectly concealed. Parties were then ordered out in 
different directions, who were all to bring their report by 
the evening banquet ; Pahlen alone was to repair to a more 
distant town, and to bo absent four days. He took his cart, 
and we contrived to dress him as like a peasant as our ward- 
robe would permit. His purpose was to obtain diflferent 
costumes which were necessary for our enterprise. I re- 



A PSYCHOLOaiCAL ROMANCE. 133 

mained witli two of my men, and worked at the interior 
arrangements of our dwelling. 

Thus passed a week, and each day the courage of my 
band became more inflamed ; they panted for action. We 
were in want of meal : I determined to attack a farmer's 
grange on the ensuing eve, and I resolved to head the 
enterprise myself. I took with me Ulric and three others. 
We arrived an hour before sunset at the devoted settlement ; 
it had been already well reconnoitred. Robberies in this 
country were unknown ; we had to encounter no precau- 
tions. We passed the door of the granary, rifled it, stored 
our cart, and escaped without a dog barking. We returned 
two hours before midnight; and the excitement of this 
evening I shall never forget. All were bursting with mad 
enthusiasm ; I alone looked grave, as if everything de- 
pended upon my mind. It was astonishing what an influ- 
ence this assumption of seriousness, in the midst of their 
wild mirth, already exercised upon my companions. I was, 
indeed, their chief; they placed in me unbounded con- 
fidence, and almost viewed me as a being of another 
order. 

I sent off Pahlen the next day, in the disguise of a pedlar, 
to a neighbouring village. The robbery was the topic of 
general conversation ; everybody was astounded, and no 
one was suspected. I determined, however, not to hazard 
in a hurry another enterprise in the neighbourhood. We 
wanted nothing except wine. Our guns each day procured 
us meat, and the farmer's meal was a plentiful source of 
bread. Necessity developes much talent : already one of 
our party was pronounced an excellent cook ; and the last 
fellow in the world we should ever have suspected put 
an old oven into perfect order, and turned out an ingenious 
mechanic. 

It was necessary to make a diversion in a distant part of 
the forest. I sent out my lieutenant with a strong party ; 



134 CONTAKINI FLEMTNa ; 

they succeeded in driving home from a rich form four 
cows in milk. This was a great addition to our luxuries; 
and Pahlen, remaining behind, paid in disguise an observar 
tory visit to another village in the vicinity, and brought us 
home the gratifying intelligence that it was settled that 
the robbers were a party from a town far away, on the 
other side of the forest. 

These cases of petty plundering prepared my band for the 
deeper deeds which I always contemplated. Parties were 
now out for days together. We began to be familiar with 
every square mile of country. Through this vast forest 
land, but a great distance from the castle, ran a high-road, 
on which there was much traffic. One evening, as Ulric 
and myself were prowling in this neighbourhood, we per- 
ceived a band of horsemen approaching ; they were doth- 
merchants returning from a great fiEiir, eight in number, 
but only one or two armed, and merely with pistols. A 
cloth-merchant's pistol, that had been probably loaded for 
years, and was borne, in all likelihood, by a man who would 
tremble at his own fire, did not appear a very formidable 
weapon. The idea occurred to both of us simultaneously. 
We put on our masks, and one of us ran out from each side 
of the road, and seized the bridle of the foremost horseman. 
I never saw a man so astonished in my life ; he was perhaps 
even more astonished than afraid ; but we gave them no 
time. I can scarcely describe the scene. There was dis- 
mounting, and the opening of saddle-bags, and the clinkiiig 
of coin. I remember wishing them good night in the civilest 
tone possible, and then we were alone. 

I stared at Ulric, Ulric stared at me, and then we burst 
into a loud laugh and danced about the road. I quite lost 
my presence of mind, and rejoiced that no one but my 
favourite friend was present to witness my unheroio con- 
duct. We had a couple of forest ponies, that we had driven 
home one day from a friendly farmer, tied up in an adjoin- 



i 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 135 

ing wood. We ran to them, jumped on, and scampered 
away without stopping- for five or six hours ; at least I 
think so, for it was an hour after sunset before the robbery- 
was committed, and it was the last hour of the moon before 
we reached our haunt. 

' The captain has come ! the captain has come ! ' was a 
sound that always summoned my band. Fresh faggots 
were thrown on the fire ; beakers of wine and brandy placed 
on the table. I called for Pahlen and my pipe, flung my- 
self on my seat, and, dashing the purses upon the board, 
* Here,' said I, * my boys ! here is our first gold ! ' 



CHAPTER V. 



This aflair of the cloth-merchants made as quite mad ; four 
parties were stopped in as many days. For any of our com- 
panions to return without booty, or, what was much more 
prized, without an adventure, was considered flat treason. 
Our whole band was now seldom assembled. The travellers 
to the fair were a never-failing source of profit. Each day 
we meditated bolder exploits ; and, understanding that a 
wedding was about to take place in a neighbouring castle, 
I resolved to surprise the revellers in their glory, and cap- 
ture the bride. 

One evening as, seated in an obscure comer of the hall, 
I was maturing my plans for this great achievement, and 
most of my companions were assembled at their meal, 
Pahlen unexpectedly returned. He was evidently much 
fatigued ; he panted for breath ; he was covered with sweat 
and dirt ; his dress was torn and soiled ; he reached the 
table with staggering steps ; and, seizing a mighiy flask of 
B/henish, emptied it at a draught. 

' Where is the captain ?' he anxiously inquired. 




136 CONTAEINI FLEMIKG: 

I advanced ; lie seized me by the arm, and led me out of 
the chamber. 

* A strong party of police and military have entered the 
forest ; they have taken up their quarters at a town not ten 
miles off; their orders to discover our band are peremptory; 
every spot is to be searched, and the castle wiU be the first. 
I have fought my way through the uncut woods. You 
must decide to-night. What will you do ?' 

* Their strength ?' 

* A company of infantry, a party of rangers, and a suflSi- 
ciently stout body of police. Resistance is impossible.' 

* It seems so.' 

* And escape, unless we fly at once. To-morrow we shall 
be surrounded.' 

'The devil!' 

* I wish to Heaven we were once more in your rooms, 
Fleming ! ' 

' Why, it would be as well. But, for heaven's sake, be 
calm ! K we waver, what will the rest do ? Let us sum- 
mon our energies. Is concealment impossible ? The dun- 
geons ?' 

* Every hole will most assuredly be searched.' 

' An ambush might destroy them. We must fight, if they 
run us to bay.' 
' Poh ! ' 

* Blow up the castle, then ?' 

* And ourselves ?' 

* Well ?' 

* Heavens ! what a madman you are ! It was all you, 
Fleming, that got us into this infernal scrape. Why the 
devil should we become robbers, whom society has evidently 
intended only to be robbed ?' 

' You are poignant, Pahlen. Come, let us to our Mends.' 
I took him by the arm, and we entered the hall together. 

* Gentlemen,' I said, * my lieutenant brings important in- 



^ 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 137 

telligcnce. A strong party of military and police have 
entered the forest to discover and secure us; they are 
twenty to one, and therefore too strong for an open combat. 
The castle cannot stand an hour's siege, and an ambush, 
although it ^might prove successful, and gain us time, will 
eventually only render our escape more difficult, and our 
stay here impossible. I propose, therefore, that we should 
disperse for a few days, and, before our departure, take heed 
that no traces of recent residence are left in this building. 
If we succeed in baffling their researches, we can again as- 
semble here; or, wHch I conceive will be more prudent 
and more practicable, meet once more only to arrange our 
plans for our departure to another and a more distant coun- 
try. We have ample funds ; we can purchase a ship. Ming- 
ling with the crew as amateurs, we shall soon gain sufficient 
science. A new career is before us. The Baltic leads to the 
Mediterranean. Think of its blue waters and beaming skies ; 
its archipelagoes and picturesque inhabitants. We have 
been bandits in a northern forest ; let us now become pirates 
on a southern sea ! ' 

No sympathetic cheer followed this eloquent appeal ; 
there was a deep, dull, dead, dismal silence. I watched 
them narrowly ; all looked with fixed eyes upon the table. 
I stood with folded arms ; the foot of Pahlen nervously pat- 
ting against the ground was the only sound. At length, 
one by one, each dared to gaze upon another, and tried to 
read his fellow's thoughts ; they could, without difficulty, 
detect the lurking but terrible alarm. 

* Well, gentlemen,' I said, * time presses ; I still trust I 
am your captain ? ' 

' O Fleming, Fleming,' exclaimed the cook, with a broken 
voice and most piteous aspect, and dropping my title, which 
hitherto had been scrupulously observed ; * how can you go 
on so ! It is quite dreadful ! ' 

There was an assenting murmur. 



138 CONTAEINI FLEMINa: 

* I am sure,' continued the artist, whom I always knew 
to be the greatest coward of the set ; * I am sure I never 
thought it would come to this. I thought it was only a fro- 
lic. I have got led on I am sure I do not know how. But 
you have such a way. Wliat will our feithers think ? Biob- 
bers ! How horrible ! And then suppose we are shot ! 
Lord ! what will our mothers say ! And after all we are 
only a parcel of boys, and did it out of ftm. Oh ! what shall 
I do?' 

The grave looks with which this comic ebulHtion was re- 
ceived, proved that the sentiments, however undignified in 
their delivery, were congenial to the band. The orator was 
emboldened by not being laughed at for the first time in his 
life, and proceeded : 

' I am sure I think we had better give ourselves up, and 
then our families might get us through : we can tell the 
truth ; we can say we only did it for fiin, and can give up 
the money, and as much more as they like. I do not think 
they would hang us. Do you ? Oh ! ' 

'The devil take the hindmost,' said the young Count 
Bomholm, rising, * I am off. It will go hard if they arrest 
me, because I am out sporting with my gun, and if they do 
I will give them my name and then I should like to see them 
stop me.' 

* That will be best,' all eagerly exclaimed and rose. * Let 
us all disperse, each alone with his gun.' 

* Let us put out the fire,' said the cook ; * they may see 
the light.' 

* What, without windows ?' said Bomholm. 

* Oh ! these police see everything. What shall I do with 
the kettles ? We shall all get detected. To think it should 
come to this ! Shot, perhaps hung ! Oh ! ' 

' Throw everything down the well,* said Pahlen ; * money 
and aU.' 

Now I knew it was over. I had waited to hear Pahlen's 



A PSYCHOLOaiCAL EOMANCE. 139 

voice, and I now saw it was all up. I was not sony. I felt 
tHe inextricable difficulties in which we were involved, and 
what annoyed me most was, that I had hitherto seen no 
mode of closing my part with dignity. 

' Gentlemen,' I said, * so long as you are within these 
walls I am still your captain. You desert me, but I will 
not disgrace you. Fly then ; fly to your schools and homes, 
to your affectionate parents and your dutiful tutors. I 
should have known with whom I leagued myself. I at 
least am not a boy, and although now a leader without fol- 
lowers, I will still, for the honour of my race and the world 
in which we breathe, I will still believe that I may find 
trustier bosoms, and pursue a more eminent career.' 

Ulric de Brahe rushed forward and placed himself by my 
side : * Fleming,' he said, ' I will never desert you ! ' 

I pressed his hand with the warmth it deserved, but the 
feeling of solitude tad come over me. I wished to be alone. 
* No, Ulric,' I replied, * we must part. I will tie no one to 
my broken fortunes. And, my Mends all, let us not part 
in bitterness. Excuse me, if in a moment of irritation I 
said aught that was unkind to those I love, depreciating to 
those whose conduct I have ever had cause to admire. 
Some splendid hours we have passed together, some brief 
moments of gay revel, and glorious daring, and sublime 
peril. We must part. I wiU believe that our destiny, and 
not our win, separates us. My good sword,' I exclaimed, 
and I drew it from the scabbard, ' in future you shall belong 
to the bravest of the brave,' and kissing it, I presented it 
to Pahlen. *And now one brimming cup to the past. 
Pledge me aU, and in spite of every danger, with a merry 
face.' 

Each man quaffed the goblet till it was dry, and performed 
the supernaculum, and then I walked to a distant part of 
the haU, whispering as I passed Pahlen, * See that every- 
thing necessary is done.' 



140 CONTAEINI FLEMING: 

The castle well was the general receptacle for all our 
goods and plunder. In a few minutes the old hall presented 
almost the same appearance as on our arrival. The fire was 
extinguished. Everything disappeared. By the Hght of a 
solitaiy torch, each man took his rifle, and his knapsack, 
and his cloak, and then we were about to disperse. I shook 
hands with each. Ulric de Brahe lingered behind, and once 
more whispered his earnest desire to accompany me. Bnt 
I forbade him, and he quitted me rather irritated. 

I was alone. In a few minutes, when I believed that all 
had gone forth, I came out. Ere I departed, I stopped before 
the old castle, and gazed upon it, grey in the moonlight. 
The mighty pines rose tall and black into the dark blue air. 
All was silent. The beauty and the stillness blended with 
my tumultuous emotions, and in a moment I dashed into 
poetry. Forgetting the imminent danger in which my 
presence on this spot, even my voice, might involve me, I 
poured forth my passionate farewell to the wild scene of my 
wilder life. I found a fierce solace in this expression of my 
heart. I discovered a substitute for the excitement of action 
in the excitement of thought. Deprived of my castle and 
my followers, I fled to my ideal world for refuge. There I 
found them, a forest far wilder and more extensive, a castle 
far more picturesque and awful, a band infinitely more 
courageous and more true. My imagination supported me 
under my whelming mortification. Crowds of characters, 
and incidents, and passionate scenes, clustered into my 
brain. Again I acted, again I gave the prompt decision, 
again I supplied the never-failing expedient, again we 
revelled, fought, and plundered. 

It was midnight, when, wrapping himself in his cloak, 
and making a bed of fern, the late lord of Jonstema betook 
himself to his solitary slumber beneath the wide canopy of 
heaven. 



A PSYCHOLOOICAL ROMANCE. 141 



CHAPTER VI. 

I ROSE with tlie sun, and the first thought that occurred to 
me was to write a tragedy. The castle in the forest, the 
Protean Pahlen, the tender-hearted Ulric, the craven cook, 
who was to be the traitor to betray the all-interesting and 
marvellous hero, myself, here was material. What solilo- 
quies, what action, what variety of character! I threw 
away my cloak, it wearied me, and walked on, waving my 
arm, and spouting a scene. I longed for the moment that 
I could deliver to an imperishable scroll these vivid creations 
of my fancy. I determined to make my way to the nearest 
town and record these strong conceptions, ere the fire of 
my feelings died away. I was suddenly challenged by the 
advance guard of a party of soldiers. They had orders to 
stop all travellers, and bring them to their commanding 
officer. I accordingly repaired to their chiefl 

I had no fear as to the result, I should affect to be a 
travelling student, and, in case of any difficulty, I had de- 
termined to confide my name to the officer. But this was 
unnecessary. I went through my examination with such a 
confident air, that nothing was suspected, and I was per- 
mitted to proceed. This was the groundwork for a new in- 
cident, ^nd in the third act I instantly introduced a visit in 
disguise to the camp of the enemy. 

I refreshed myself at a farm-house, where I found some 
soldiers billeted. I was amused with being the subject of 
their conversation, and felt my importance. As I thought, 
however, it was but prudent to extricate myself from the 
forest without any unnecessary loss of time, I took my way 
towards its skirts, and continued advancing in that direction 
for several days, until I found myself in a district with 



142 CONTABINI FLEMING: 

wliioh I was unacqnamted. I had now gained the open 
country. Emerging from the straggling woodland one 
afternoon about an hour before sunset, I found myself in a 
highly cultivated and beautiful land. A small but finely- 
formed lake spread before mo covered with wild fowl. On 
its opposite side rose a gentle acclivity richly wooded and 
crowned by a magnificent castle. The declining sun shed a 
beautiftil warm light over the proud building, and its parks 
and gardens, and the surrounding land, which was covered 
with orchards and small fields of tall golden grain. 

The contrast of all this civilisation and beauty with the 
recent scene of my savage existence was very striking. I 
leant in thought upon my rifle, and it occurred to me ihat, 
in my dark work, although indeed its characteristic was the 
terrible, there too should be something sunny, and fresh, and 
fair. For if in nature and in life man finds these changes 
so delightfdl, so also should it be in the ideal and the poetic. 
And the thought of a heroine came into my mind. And 
while my heart was softened by the remembrance of woman, 
and the long-repressed waters of my passionate affections 
came gushing through the stem rocks that had so longboat 
them away, a fanciful and sparkling equipage appeared ad- 
vancing at a rapid pace to the castle. A light and brilliant 
carriage, drawn by four beautiftil grey horses, and the chas- 
seur in an hussar dress, and the caracoling outriders, an- 
nounced a personage of distinction. They advanced ; the 
road ran by my feet. As they approached I perceived 
that there was only a lady in the carriage. I could not dis- 
tinguish much, but my heart was prophetic of her charms. 
The carriage was within five yards of me. !N"ever had I 
beheld so beautiful and sumptuous a creature. A strange 
feeling came over me, the carriage and the riders suddenly 
stopped, and its mistress, starting from her seat, exclaimed, 
almost shouted, * Contarini ! surely, Contarini ! ' 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 143 



CHAPTER Vn. 

I BUSHED forward ; I seized her extended liand ; the voice 
called back the sweetness of the past ; my memory strug- 
gled through the mist of many years — * Christiana ! ' 

I had seen her once or twice since the golden age of our 
early loves, but not of late. I had heard, too, that she had 
married, and heard it with a pang. Her husband. Count 
ITorberg, I now learnt, was the lord of the castle before us. 
I gave a hurried explanation of my presence, a walking 
tour, a sporting excursion, anything did, while I held her 
sweet hand, and gazed upon her sparkling £a,ce. 

I gave my gun and knapsack to an attendant, and jumped 
into the carriage. So many questions uttered in so kind a 
voice ; I never felt happier. Our drive lasted only a few 
minutes, yet it was long enough for Christiana to tell me a 
thousand times how rejoiced she was to meet me, and how 
determined that I shoxdd be her guest. 

We dashed through the castle gates. AUghting, I led her 
through the hall, up the lofby staircase, and into a suite of 
saloons. No one was there. She ran with me upstairs, 
would herself point out to me my room, and was wild with 
glee. * I have not time to talk now, Contarini. We dine 
in an hour. I will dress as fast as I can, and then we shall 
meet in the drawing-room.' 

I was alone, and throwing myself into a chair, uttered a 
deep sigh. It even surprised me, for I felt at this moment 
very happy. The servant entered with my limited wardrobe. 
I tried to make myself look as much like a man of the world 
and as little like a bandit as possible ; but I was certainly 
more picturesque than splendid. When I had dressed I for- 



144 CONTAKINI FLEMING: 

got to descend, and leant over the mantel-piece, gazing on 
the empty stove. The remembrance of my boyhood over- 
powered me. I thought of the garden in which we had 
first met, of her visit to me in the dark to solace my despair; 
I asked myself why in her presence everything seemed beau- 
tiftil, and I felt happy ? 

Some one tapped at the door. * Are yon ready ? * said 
the voice of voices. I opened the door, and taking her 
hand, we exchanged looks of joyful love, and descended 
together. 

We entered the saloon. She led me up to a middle-aged 
but graceful personage ; she introduced me to her husband 
as the oldest and dearest of her friends. There were several 
other gentlemen in the room who had come to enjoy the 
chase with their host, but no ladies. "We dined at a round 
table, and I was seated by Christiana. The conversation 
ran almost entirely on the robbers, of whom I heard roman- 
tic and ridiculous accounts. I asked the Countess how she 
should like to be the wife of a bandit chief ? 

* I hardly know what I should do,' she answered play- 
fully, * were I to meet with some of those interesting ruffians 
of whom we occasionally read ; but I fear, in this age of 
reality, these sentimental heroes would be difficult to dis- 
cover.' 

* Yes ; I have no doubt,' said a young nobleman opposite, 
* that if we could detect this very captain, of whom we have 
daily heard such interesting details, we should find him to 
be nothing better than a decayed innkeeper, or a broken 
subaltern at the best.' 

* You think so ? ' I replied. ' In this age we are as prone 
to disbelieve in the extraordinary as we were once eager to 
credit it. I difier from you about the subject of our present 
discussion, nor do I believe him to be by any means a com- 
mon character.' 

My remark attracted general observation. I spoke in a 



A PSYCHOLOaiCAL ROMANCE. 145 

confident but slow and serious tone. I "wished to impress 
on Christiana that 1 was no longer a child. 

' But may I ask on what grounds you have formed your 
opinion ? ' said the Count. 

' Principally upon my own observation,' I replied. 

* Your own observation ! * exclaimed mine host. * What, 
have you seen him ? ' 

* Yes.' 

They would have thought me joking had I not looked so 
grave, but my serious air ill accorded with their smiles. 

*I was with him in the forest,' I continued, 'aud held 
considerable conversation with him. I even accompanied 
him to his haunt, and witnessed his assembled band.' 

' Are you serious ! ' all exclaimed. The Countess was 
visibly interested. 

' But were you not very frightened ? ' she inquired. 

* Why shoxdd I be finghtened ? ' I answered ; * a solitary 
student offered but poor prey. He would have passed me 
unnoticed had I not sought his acquaintance, and he was a 
sufficiently good judge of human nature speedily to discover 
that I was not likely to betray him.' 

* And what sort of a man is he ? ' asked the young noble. 
* Is he young ? ' 

' Very.' 

*Well, I think this is the most extraordinary incident 
that ever happened ! ' observed the Count. 

* It is most interesting,' added the Countess. 

* Whatever may be his rank or appearance, it is all up 
with him by this time,' remarked an old gentleman. 

* I doubt it,' I replied, mildly, but firmly. 

* Doubt it ! I tell you what, if you were a little older, 
and knew this forest as well as I do, you would see that 
his escape is impossible. Never were such arrangements. 
There is not a square foot of ground that will not be 
scoured, and stations left on every cross road. I was 

L 



146 CONTAEINI FLEMING: 

with the commanding officer only yesterday. He cannot 
escape.' 

* He cannot escape,' echoed a hitherto silent gaest, who 
was a great sportsman. ' I will bet any sum he is taken 
before the week is over.' 

* J£ it wonld not shock our fair hostess, Count Prater,' I 
rejoined, * rest assured you should forfeit your stake.' 

My host and his guests exchanged looks, as if to ask each 
other who was this very young man who talked with such 
coolness on such extraordinary subjects. But they were 
not cognisant of the secret cause of this exhibition. I wished 
to introduce myself as a man to the Countess. I wished 
her to associate my name with something of a more exalted 
nature than our nursery romance. I did not, indeed, desire 
that she should conceive that I was less sensible to her in- 
fluence, but I was determined she should feel that her 
influence was exercised over no ordinary being. I felt that 
my bold move had already in part succeeded. I more than 
once caught her eye, and read the blended feeling of astonish- 
ment and interest with which she listened to me. 

' Well, perhaps he may not be taken in a week,' said the 
betting Count Prater ; * it would be annoying to lose my 
wager by an hour.' 

* Say a fortnight then,' said the young nobleman. 

*A forjmight, a year, an age, what you please,' I ob- 
served. 

' You will bet, then, that he will not be taken ? ' said 
Count Prater, eagerly. 

' I will bet that the expedition retires in despair,* I re- 
plied. 

* Well, what shall it be ? ' asked the Count, feeling that 
he had an excellent bet, and yet fearfdl, from my youthfol 
appearance, that our host might deem it but delicate to 
insure its being a light one. 

* What you please,' I replied ; * I seldom bet, but when I 
do, I care not how high the stake may be.' 



A PSYCHOLOaiCAL EOMANCE. 147 

' Five or fifty, or, if you please, five hundred dollars,' 
suggested the Count. 

* Five thousand, if you like/ 

' We are very naoderate here, baron,' said our host, with 
a smile. * You university heroes jGrighten us.' 

* "Well, then,' I exclaimed, pointing to the Countess' left 
arm, * you see this ruby bracelet ? the loser shall supply its 
feUow.' 

* Bravo ! ' said the young nobleman ; and Prater was 
forced to consent. 

Many questions were now asked about the robbers, as to 
the nature and situation of their haunt ; their numbers ; 
iheir conduct. To all these queries I replied with as much 
detail as was safe, but with the air of one who was resolved 
not in any way to compromise the wild outlaw, who had 
established his claim to be considered a man of honour. 

In. the evening the count and his Mends sat down to 
cards, and I walked up and down the saloon in conversation 
with Christiana. I found her manner to me greatly changed 
since the morning. She was evidently more constrained ; 
evidently she felt that in her previous burst of cordialiiy 
she had forgotten that time might have changed me more 
than it had her. I spoke to her little of home. I did not 
indulge in the details of domestic tattle ; I surprised her 
by the wild and gloomy tone in which I mentioned myself 
and my forfcnnes. I mingled with my reckless prospect of 
the ftiture the bitterest sarcasms on my present lot ; and, 
when I had almost alarmed her by my malignant misan- 
thropy, I darted into a train of gay nonsense or tender 
reminiscences, and piqued her by the easy and rapid mode 
in which my temper seemed to shift from morbid sensibility 
to callous mockery. 



l2 




148 CONTAEINI FLEMING: 



CHAPTER VIII. 

I RETiEED to my room, and wrote a letter to my servant at 
the university, directing him to repair to Norberg Castle 
with my horses and wardrobe. The fire blazed brightly ; 
the pen was fresh and brisk ; the idea rushed into my head 
in a moment, and I commenced my tragedy. I had already 
composed the first scene in my head. The plot was simple, 
and had been finally arranged while walking up and down 
the saloon with the Countess. A bandit chief fells in love 
with the wife of a rich noble, the governor of the province 
which is the scene of his ravages. I sat up nearly all night 
in fervid composition. I wrote with greater facility than 
before, because my experience of life was so much increased 
that I had no difficulty in making my characters think and 
act. There was, indeed, little art in my creation, but there 
was much vitality. 

I rose very late, and found that the chace had long ago 
called forth my fellow guests. I could always find amuse- 
ment in musing over my next scene, and I sauntered forth, 
almost unconscious of what I did. I found Christiana in a 
fanciftil flower garden. She was bending down tending a 
favourite plant. My heart beat, my spirit seemed lighter ; 
she heard my step, she raised her smiling face, and gave me 
a flower. 

* Ah ! does not this remind you,' I said, * of a spot of early 
days ? I should grieve if you had forgotten the scene of 
our first acquaintance.* 

' The dear garden house,* exclaimed Christiana, with an 
arch smile. ' Never shall I forget it. Contarini, what a 
little boy you were then ! * 



i 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 149 

We -wandered about together till the noon had long 
passed, talking of old times, and then we entered the castle- 
for rest. She was as gay as a young creature in spring, 
but I was grave, though not gloomy. I listened to her 
musical voice. I watched the thousand ebullitions of her 
beaming grace. I could not talk. I cotdd only assent to 
her cheerful observations, and repose in peaceful silence, 
full of tranquil joy. The morning died away ; the hunters 
returned ; we reassembled to talk over their day's exploits, 
and speculate on the result of my bet with Count Prater. 

No tidings were heard of the robbers ; nearly every ob- 
servation of yesterday was repeated. It was a fine specimen 
of rural conversation. They ate keenly, they drank freely, 
and I rejoiced when they were fairly seated again at their 
card-table, and I was once more with Christiana. 

I was dehghted when she quitted the harp and seated 
herself at the piano. I care little for a melodious voice, as 
it gives me no ideas, but instrumental music is a true source 
of inspiration ; and as Christiana executed the magnificent 
overture of a great German master, I motdded my feelings 
of the morning into a scene, and, when I again found my- 
self in my room, I recorded it with facility, or only with 
a degree of difficulty with which it was exhilarating to 
contend. 

At the end of three days my servant arrived, and gave 
me the first intimation that myself and my recent com- 
panions were expelled, for which I cared as little as for 
their gold medal. 

Three weeks flew away, distinguished by no particular 
incident, excepting the loss of his gage by Count Prater, 
and my manifold care that he should redeem it. The 
robbers could not in any manner be traced, although Jon- 
sterna afibrded some indications. The wonder increased 
and was universal, and my exploits afibrded a subject for 
a pamphlet, the cheapness of whose price, the publisher 



150 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

earnestly impressed npon ns, conld only be justified by its 
extensive circnlation. 

Three weeks bad flown away, three sweet weeks, and 
flown away in tbe almost constant presence of Gbristiaiia, 
or in scarcely less deb'gbtftil composition. My tragedy was 
flnisbed. I resolved to return borne ; I longed to bring my 
reputation to tbe test ; yet I lingered about Christiana. 

I lingered about her, as the young bird about the first 
sunny fruit his inexperienced love dare not touch. I was 
ever with her, and each day grew more silent. I joined her, 
exhausted by composition. In her presence I sought refresh- 
ing solace, renewed inspiration. I spoke little, for one feeling 
alone occupied my beins:, and even of that I was not cog- 
nisax^t. for ite naLe to me was indefimte and indistinJ, 
although its power was constant and irresistible. But I 
avenged myself for this strange silence when I was once 
more alone, and my fervid page teemed with the imaginary 
passion, of whose reality my unpractised nature was not 
even yet convinced. 

One evening, as we were walking together in the saloon, 
and she was expressing her wish that I would remain, and 
her wonder as to the necessity of my returning, which I 
described as so imperative, suddenly, and in the most un- 
premeditated manner, I made her the confidant of my 
literary secret. I was charmed with the temper in which 
she received it, and the deep and serious interest which 
she expressed in my success. *Do you know,' she added, 
* Contarini, you will think it very odd, but I have always 
believed that you were intended for a poet.* 

My sparkling eye, sparkling with hope and affection, 
thanked her for her sympathy, and it was agreed that, on 
the morrow, I should read to her my production. 

I was very nervous when I commenced. This was the first 
time that my composition had been submitted to a human 
being, and now this submission was to take place in. the 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL KOMANCE. 151 

presence of the author, and through the medium of his 
voice. As I proceeded, I grew rathfer more assured. The 
interest which Christiana really found, or aflTected to find, 
encouraged me. If I hesitated, she said, 'Beautiftil! ' when- 
ever I paused, she exclaimed, ' Interesting ! ' My voice 
grew firmer ; the interest which I myself took banished my 
false shame ; I grew excited ; my modulated voice impressed 
my sentiments, and my action sometimes explained them. 
The robber scene was considered wonderful and fall of life 
and nature. Christiana marvelled how I could have in- 
vented such extraordinary things and characters. At 
length I came to my heroiue. Her beauty was described 
in an elaborate and far too poetic passage. It was a perfect 
feiC-simile of the Countess. It was ridiculous. She herself 
felt it, and, looking up, smiled with a faint blush. 

I had now advanced into the very heart of the play, and 
the scenes of sentiment had commenced. I had long since 
lost my irresolution. The encouragement of Christiana, and 
the delight which I really felt in my writing, made me 
more than bold. I really acted before her. She was sus- 
ceptible. All know how easy it is for a very indifierent 
drama, if well performed, to soften even the callous. Her 
eyes were sufiused with tears ; my emotion was also visible. 
I felt like a man brought out of a dungeon, and groping his 
way in the light. How cotdd I have been so blind when all 
was so evident ? It was not until I had recited to Chris- 
tiana my fictitious passion, that I had become conscious of 
my real feelings. I had been ignorant all this time that I 
had been long fatally in love with her. I threw away my 
manuscript, and, seizing her hand, ' 0, Christiana ! ' I ex- 
claimed, ' what mockery is it thus to veil truth ? Before 
you is the leader of the band of whom you have heard so 
much. He adores you.' 

She started : I cannot describe the beautiful consternation 
of her countenance. 



152 CONTAIUNI FLEMINa: 

* Contarini,' she exclaimed, * are you mad ! what can yon 
mean?* 

* Mean ! ' I poured forth ; * is it doubtM ? Yes ! I repeat 
I am the leader of that band, whose exploits have so recently 
alarmed you. Cannot you now comprehend the story of 
my visiting their haunt ? . Was it probable, was it possible, 
that I should have been permitted to gain their secret and 
to retire ? The robbers were youths like myself, weary of 
the dull monotony of our fedse and wretched life. "We have 
yielded to overwhelming force, but we have baffled all pur- 
suit. For myself, I quit for ever a country I abhor. Ere 
a year has passed I shall roam a pirate on the far waves of 
the uSgean. One tie only binds me to this rigid clime. In 
my life I have loved only one being. I look upon her. 
Tes ! yes ! it is you, Christiana. On the very brink of my 
exile Destiny has brought us once more together. Oh ! let 
us never part ! Be mine, be mine ! Share with me my 
glory, my liberty, and my love ! ' 

I poured forth this rhapsody with impassioned haste. 
The Countess stared with blank astonishment. She ap- 
peared even alarmed. Suddenly she sprang up and ran 
out of the room. 



CHAPTER rx. 



I WAS enraged, and I was confased. I do not know whether 
I felt more shame or more irritation. My vanity impelled 
me to remain some time with the hope that she would 
return. She did not, and seizing my tragedy, I rushed 
into the park. I met my servant exercising a horse. I 
sent him back to the castle alone, jumped on my steed, and 
in a few minutes was galloping along the high road to the 
metropolis. 

It was about one hundred miles distant. When I reached 



A PSYCHOLOaiCAL ROMANCE. 153 

home, I found that my father and the Baroness were in the 
country. I was not sorry to be alone, as I really had re- 
turned without any object, and had not, in any degree, 
prepared myself to meet my father. After some considera- 
tion, I enclosed my tragedy to an eminent publisher, and I 
sent it him from a quarter whence he could gain no clue 
as to its source. I pressed him for a reply without tinneces- 
sary loss of time, and he, unlike these gentry, who really 
think themselves far more important personages than those 
by whose wits they live, wb,s punctual. In the course of a 
week he returned me my manuscript, with his compliments, 
and an extract from the letter of his principal critic, in which 
my efiusion was described as a laboured exaggeration of the 
most unnatural features of the German school. On the day 
I received it my father also arrived. 

He was alone, and had merely come up to town to transact 
business. He was surprised to see me, but said nothing of 
my expulsion, although I felt confident that he must be 
aware of it. We dined together alone. He talked to me 
at dinner of indifferent subjects : of alterations at his castle, 
and the state of Europe. As I wished to conciliate him, I 
affected to take great interest in this latter topic, and I 
thought he seemed pleased with the earnest readiness with 
which I interfered in the discussion. After dinner he re- 
marked very quietly, filling his glass, * Had you communi- 
cated with me, Contarini, I could perhaps have saved you 
the disgrace of expulsion.* 

I was quite taken by surprise, and looked very confused. 
At last I said, * I fear, sir, I have occasioned you too often 
great mortification ; but I sometimes cannot refrain from 
believing that I may yet make a return to you for all your 
goodness.* 

* Everything depends upon yourself, Contarini. You 
have elected to be your own master. You must take the 
consequences of your courage or your rashness. What are 



154 CONTAKmi FLEMINa: 

your plans ? I do not know whether yon mean to honour 
me with your confidence as a friend- I do not even aspire 
to the authority of a father.' 

* Oh ! pray, sir, do not say so. I place myself entirely 
at your disposal. I desire nothing more ardently than to 
act under your command. I assure you that you will find 
me a very difierent person from what you imagine. I am 
impressed with a most earnest and determined resolution 
to become a practical man. Ton must not judge of me by 
my boyish career. The very feelings that made me revolt 
at the discipline of schools will insure my subordination in 
the world. I took no interest in their petty pursuits, and 
their minute legislation interfered with my more extended 
views.' 

* What views ? ' asked my father, with a smile. 

I was somewhat puzzled, but I answered, * I wish, sir, to 
influence men.* 

* But before you influence others you must learn to influ- 
ence yourself. Now those who would judge, perhaps im- 
perfectly, of your temperament, Contarini, would suppose 
that its characteristic was a nature so headstrong and im- 
prudent, that it could not fail of involving its possessor in 
many dangerous and sometimes even in very ridiculous 
positions.' 

I was silent, with my eyes fixed on the ground. 

* I think you have sufficient talents for all that I could 
reasonably desire, Contarini,' continued my father ; * I think 
you have talents indeed for anything ; anything, I mean, 
that a rational being can desire to attain; but you sadly 
lack judgment. I think that you are the most imprudent 
person with whom I ever was acquainted. You have a 
great enemy, Contarini, a great enemy in yourself You 
have a great enemy in your imagination. I think if you 
could control your imagination you might be a great 
man. 



i 



A PSYCHOLOaiCAL ROMANCE. 155 

' It is a fatal gift, Contarini ; for when possessed in its 
highest quality and strength what has it ever done for its 
votaries ? What were all those great poets of whom we 
now talk so mnch, what were they in their lifetime ? The 
most miserable of their species. Depressed, donbtfdl, ob- 
scnre, or involved in petty qnarrels and petty persecutions ; 
often unappreciated, utterly uninfluential, beggars, flatterers 
of men unworthy even of their recognition ; what a train of 
disgustfdl incidents, what a record of degrading circum- 
stances, is the life of a great poet ! A man of great energies 
aspires that they should be felt in his lifetime, that his 
existence should be rendered more intensely vital by the 
constant consciousness of his multiplied and multiplying 
power. Is posthumous fame a substitute for all this ? 
Viewed in every light, and under every feeling, it is alike 
a mockery. Nay, even try the greatest by this test, and 
what is the result ? Would you rather have been Homer 
or Julius Caesar, Shakspeare or Napoleon ? JSTo one doubts. 
Moralists may cloud truth with every possible adumbration 
of cant, but the nature of our being gives the lie to all their 
assertions. We are active beings, and our sympathy, above 
all other sympathies, is with great action. 

* Remember, Contarini, that all this time I am taking for 
granted that you may be a Homer. Let us now recollect 
that it is perhaps the most improbable incident that can 
occur. The high poetic talent (as if to prove that a poet is 
only, at the best, a wild although beautifdl error of nature), 
the high poetic talent is the rarest in creation. What you 
have felt is what I have felt myself, is what all men have 
felt: it is the consequence of our native and inviolate 
susceptibility. As you advance in life and become more 
callous, more acquainted with man and with yourself, you 
will find it even daily decrease. Mix in society and I wiU 
answer that you lose your poetic feeling ; for in you, as in 
the great majority, it is not a creative faculty originating 



156 CONTAEINI FLEMING: 

in a peculiar organisation, but simply the consequence of a 
nervous susceptibility that is common to all.' 

I suspected very mucb that my father had stumbled on 
the unhappy romance of the Wild Hunter of Rodenstein, 
which I had left lying about my drawers, but I said nothing. 
He proceeded : 

* The time has now arrived which may be considered a 
crisis in your life. You have, although very young, resolved 
that society should consider you a man. No preparatory 
situation can now veil your indiscretions. A youth at the 
University may commit outrages with impunity, which will 
afi&x a lasting prejudice on a person of the same age who 
has quitted the University. I must ask you again, what 
are your plans ? * 

* I have none, sir, except your wishes. I feel acutely the 
truth of all you have observed. I assure you I am as com- 
pletely and radically cured of any predisposition that, I 
confess, I once conceived I possessed for literary invention, 
as even you could desire. I will own to you that my ambition 
is great. I do not think that I should find life tolerable, 
unless I were in an eminent position, and conscious that I 
deserved it. Fame, although not posthumous fame, is, I 
feel, necessary to my felicity. In a word, I wish to devote 
myself to affairs ! I attend only your commands.' 

* If it meet your wishes, I will appoint you my private 
secretary. The post, particularly when confirmed by the 
confidence which must subsist between individuals con- 
nected as we are, is the best school for public affairs. It 
will prepare you for any office.' 

* I can conceive nothing more delightful. You could 
not have fixed upon an appointment more congeidal to my 
feelings. To be your constant companion, in the slightest 
degree to alleviate the burden of your labours, to be con- 
sidered worthy of your confidence ; this is all that I could 
desire. I only fear that my ignorance of routine may at 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 157 

first inconvenieiice yon, but trust me, dear father, that, if 
devotion and the constant exertion of any talents I may 
possess can aid you, they will not be wanting. Indeed, 
indeed, sir, you never shall repent your goodness.* 

This same evening I consigned my tragedy to the flames. 



CHAPTER X. 



I DEVOTED myself to my new pursuits with as much fervour 
as I had done to the study of Greek. The former secretary 
initiated me in the mysteries of routine business. My 
father, although he made no remark, was evidently pleased 
at the facility and quickness with which I attained this 
formal but necessary information. Vattel and Martens 
were my private studies. I was greatly interested with my 
novel labours. Foreign policy opened a dazzling vista of 
splendid incident. It was enchanting to be acquainted with 
the secrets of European cabinets, and to control or influence 
their fortunes. A year passed with more satisfaction than 
any period of my former life. I had become of essential 
service to my father. My talent for composition found fall 
exercise, and afforded him great aid in drawing up state 
papers and manifestoes, despatches and decrees. We were 
always together. I shared his entire confidence. He in- 
structed me in the characters of the public men who sur- 
rounded us, and of those who were more distant. I was 
astonished at the scene of intrigue that opened on me. I 
found that in some even of his colleagues I was only to 
perceive secret enemies, and in others but necessary tools 
and tolerated incumbrances. I delighted in the danger, the 
management, the negotiation, the suspense, the difficult 
gratification of his high ambition. 

Intent as he was to make me a great statesman, he was 



158 CONTAEINI FLEMING: 

scarcely less anxioas that I should become a finished man 
of the world. He constantly impressed npon me that society 
was a politician's chief tool, and the paramount necessity 
of cultiyating its good graces. He afforded me an ample 
allowance. He encouraged me in a lavish expenditure. 
Above all, he was ever ready to dilate upon the character 
of women ; and, while he astonished me by the tone of 
depreciation in which he habitually spoke of them, he 
would even magnify their influence, and the necessity of 
securing it. 

I modelled my character upon that of my father. I 
imbibed his deep worldliness. "With my usual impetuosity 
I even exaggerated it. I recognised self-interest as the 
spring of all action. I received it as a truth, that no man 
was to be trusted, and no woman to be loved. I gloried in 
secretly believing myself the most callous of men, and that 
nothing could tempt me to compromise my absorbing 
selfism. I laid it down as a principle, that all considerations 
must yield to the gratification of my ambition. The ardour 
and assiduity with which I fulfilled my duties and prose- 
cuted my studies had rendered me, at the end of two years, 
a very sHtfiil politician. My chief fault, as a man of aflairs, 
was, that I was too fond of patronising charlatans, and too 
ready to give every adventurer credit for talents. The 
moment a man started a new idea my active fancy conjured 
up all the great results, and conceived that his was equally 
prophetic. But here my father's severe judgment and 
sharp exj)erience always interfered for my benefit, and my 
cure was assisted by hearing a few of my black swans 
cackle instead of chant. As a member of society I was 
entirely exempt from the unskilfnl affectation of my boy- 
hood. I was assured, arrogant, and bitter, but easy, and 
not ungraceful. The men trembled at my sarcasms, and 
the women repeated with wonderment my fantastic raiUery. 
My position in life, and the exaggerated halo with which, in 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 159 

my case as in all others, the talents of eminent yonth were 
injudiciously invested, made me courted by all, especially 
by the daughters of Eve. I was sometimes nearly the 
victim of hackneyed experience ; sometimes I trifled with 
affections, which my parental instructions taught me never 
to respect. On the whole, I considered myself as one of 
the important personages of the country, possessing great 
talents, profound knowledge of men and affairs, and a 
perfect acquaintance with society. When I look back upon 
myself at this period, I have diflSculty in conceiving a more 
nnamiable character. 



CHAPTER XI. 



In the third year of my political life the prime minister 
suddenly died. Here was a catastrophe ! Who was to be 
his successor ? Here was a finiitfal theme for speculation 
and intrigue ! Public opinion pointed to my father, who 
indeed, if quaUflcation for the post were only considered, 
had no competitor ; but Baron Fleming was looked upon 
by his brother nobles with a jealous eye, and, although not 
unwilling to profit by his labours, they were chary of 
allowing them too uncontrolled a scope. He was talked of 
as a new man : he was treated as scarcely national. The 
state was not to be placed at the disposal of an adventurer. 
He was not one of themselves. It was a fatal precedent, 
that the veins of the prime minister should be filled with 
any other blood but that of their ancient order. Even 
many of his colleagues did not affect to conceal their 
hostility to his appointment, and the Count de Moltke, who 
was supposed to possess every quality that should adorn 
the character of a first minister, was openly announced as 
the certain successor to the vacant oflSce. The Count de 



160 CONTAEINI FLEMING: - 

Moltke was a frivolons old conrtier, who had gained his 
little experience in long service in the household, and even 
were he appointed, could only anticipate the practicabihiy 
of carrying on affairs by impHcit confidence in his rival 
The Count de Moltke was a tool. 

Skilful as my father was in controlling and veiling his 
emotion, the occasion was too powerful even for his firmness. 
For ihe first time in his life he sought a confidant, and firm 
in the affection of a son, he confessed to me, with an agita- 
tion which was alone sufl&cient to express his meaning, how 
entirely he had staked his fehcity on this cadt. He could 
not refrain from bitterly dilating on the state of society, in 
which secret influence and the prejudices of a bigoted class 
should for a moment permit one, who had devoted all the 
resources of a high intellect to the welfare of his country, 
to be placed in momentary competition, stiU more in per- 
manent inferiority, with such an ineffable nonentiiy as the 
Count de Moltke. 

Every feeling in my nature prompted me to energy. I 
counselled my father to the most active exertions; but 
although subtle, he was too cautious, and where he was him- 
self concerned, even timid. I had no compunction and no 
fear. I would scruple at no means which could ensure onr 
end. The feeling of society was in general in our favour. 
Even among the highest class, the women were usually on 
the side of my father. Baroness Engel, who was the evening 
star that beamed unrivalled in all our assemblies, and who 
fancied herself a little Duchess de Longueville, delighted in 
a political intrigue. I affected to make her our confidante. 
We resolved together that the only mode was to render our 
rival ridiculous. I wrote an anonymous pamphlet in favour of 
the appointment of the Count de Moltke. It took in every- 
body, until in the last page they read my panegyric of his 
cream cheeses. It was in vain that the Count de Moltke 
and all his friends protested that his excellency had never 



A PSYCHOLOaiCAL ROMANCE. 161 

made a cream cheese in the whole course of Ms life. The 
storj was too probable not to be true. He was just the (Ad 
fool who would make a cream cheese. I secured the chan- 
nel of our principal journals. Each morning teemed with 
a diatribe against back-stairs' influence, the prejudices of a 
nobility who were behind their age, and indignant histories 
of the maladministration of court favourites. The evening, 
by way of change, brought only an epigram,, sometimes a 
song. The fashion took: aU the youth were on our side^ 
One day, in imitation of the Tre Giuli, we published a whole 
volume of epigrams, all on cream cheeses. The Baroness 
was moreover an inimitable caricaturist. The shops were 
filled with infinite scenes, in which a ludicrous old fribble, 
such as we might fancy a French marquis before the Revo- 
lution, was ever committing something irresistibly ridiculous. 
In addition to all this, I hired ballad-singers, who were always 
chanting in the pubHc walks, and even imder the windows 
of the palace, the achievements of the unrivalled manufac- 
turer of cream cheeses. 

In the meantime my father was not idle. He had disco- 
vered that the Count de Bragnaes, one of the most influential 
nobles in the country, and the great supporter of De Mc^tke, 
was ambitious of becoming secretary for foreign affairs, and 
that De Moltke had hesitated in pledging himself to this 
arrangement, as he could not perceive how affairs could be 
carried on if my father were entirely dismissed. My father 
opened a secret negotiation with De Bragnaes, and shook 
before his eyes the glittering seals he coveted, De Bragnaes 
was a dolt, but my father required only tools, and felt him- 
self capable of falfilling the duties of the whole ministry. 
This great secret was not concealed from me. I opposed 
the arrangement, not only because De Bragnaes was abso- 
lutely ineflScient, but because I wished to introduce Baron 
Engel into the cabinet. 

The post of chief minister had now been three weeks 

M 



162 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

vacant, and the delay was accounted for by the illness of 
the sovereign, who was nevertheless in perfect health. All 
this excitement took place at the very season we were all 
assembled in the capital for the purposes of society. My 
father was everywhere, and each night visible. I contrasted 
the smiling indifference of his public appearance with the 
•agonies of ambition which it was my doom alone to witness. 

I was alone with my father in Ma cabinet, when a royal 
messenger summoned him to the presence. The Eon^ was at 
a palace about ten miles from the city. It did not in any way 
follow from the invitation that my father was successfiil ; 
all that we felt assured of was that the crisis had arrived. 
We exchanged looks but not words. Intense as was the 
suspense, business prevented me from attending my father, 
and waiting in the royal antechamber to hear the great 
result. He departed. 

I had to receive an important deputation, the discussion 
of whose wishes employed the whole morning. It was with 
extreme difficulty that I could command my attention. 
Never in my life had I felt so nervous. Each moment a 
messenger entered, I believed that he was the important one. 
No carriage rolled into the court-yard that did not to my 
fancy bear my father. At last the deputation retired, and 
then came private interviews and urgent correspondence. 

It was twilight. The servant had lit one burner of the 
lamp when the door opened, and my father stood before me. 
I could scarcely refrain from crying out. I pushed out the 
astonished waiting-man, and locked the door. 

My father looked grave, serious ; I thought a little de- 
pressed. 'All is over,' thought I ; and in an instant I began 
speculating on the future, and had created much, when my 
father's voice called me back to the present scene. 

* His Majesty, Contarini,' said my father, in a dry, formal 
manner, as if he were speaking to one who had never wit- 
jnessed his weakness, * his Majesty has been graciously pleased 
io appoint me to the supreme office of president of his 



308 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

Hark ! the clang of the barbaric horn, and the wild clash 
of the cymbal ! A body of Turkish infantry marched aloDg 
the shore. I landed, and heard for the first time of the 
massacre of the principal rebel Beys at Monastir, at a 
banquet given by the Grand Vizir, on pretence of arranging 
all dififerences. My host, a Frank experienced in the 
Turkish character, checked me, as I poured forth my in- 
dignation at this savage treachery. * Live a little longer in 
these countries before you hazard an opinion as to their 
conduct. Do you indeed think that the rebel Beys of 
Albania were so simple as to place the slightest trust in 
the Vizir's pledge ? The practice of politics in the East 
may be defined by one word, dissimulation. The most 
wary dissembler is the consummate statesman. The Alba- 
nian chiefs went up to the divan in full array, and accom- 
panied by a select body of their best troops. They resolved 
to overawe the Vizir ; perhaps they even meditated, witii 
regard to him, the very stroke which he put in execution 
against themselves. He was the most skilful dissembler, 
that is all. His manner threw them off their guard. With 
their troops bivouacking in the court-yard, they did not 
calculate that his highness could contrive to massacre the 
troops by an ambush, and would dare, at the same moment, 
to attack the leaders by their very attendants at the 
banquet. There is no feeling of indignation in the countrj 
at the treachery of the conqueror, though a very strong 
sentiment of rage, and mortification, and revenge.' 

I learnt that the Grand Vizir had rejoined the main 
army, and was supposed to have advanced to Yanina, the 
capital ; that, in the meantime, the country between this 
city and the coast was overrun with prowling bands, the 
renmants of the rebel army, who, infuriate and flying, 
massacred, burnt, and destroyed, all persons and all pro- 
perty. This was an agreeable prospect. My friend dis- 
suaded me from my plans ; but, as I was unwilling to 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 309 

relinqnisli them, he recommended me to sail np to Salora, 
and thence journey to Arta, where I might seek assistance 
from Kalio Bey, a Moslem phief, one of the most powerful 
and wealthy of the Albanian nobles, and ever faithful to 
the Porte. 

To Salora I consequently repaired, and the next day 
succeeded in reaching Arta: a town once as beautiful as its 
site, and famous for its gardens, but now a mass of ruins. 
The whole place was razed to the ground, the minaret of 
the principal mosque alone untouched ; and I shall never 
forget the effect of the Muezzin, with his rich, and solemn, 
and sonorous voice, calling us to adore God in the midst of 
all this human havoc. 

I found the Bey of Arta keeping his state, which, not- 
withstanding the surrounding desolation, was not con- 
temptible, in a tenement which was not much better than 
a large shed. He was a handsome, stately man, grave 
but not dull, and remarkably mild and bland in his manner. 
His polished courtesy might perhaps be ascribed to his 
recent imprisonment in Bussia, where he was treated with 
so much consideration that he mentioned it to me. I had 
lived in such complete solitude in Candia, and had there 
been so absorbed by passion, that I really was much less 
acquainted with Turkish manners than I ought to have 
been. I must confess that it was with some awe that, for 

t 

the first time in my life, I entered the divan of a great 
Turk, and found myself sitting cross-legged on the right 
band of a Bey, smoking an amber-mouthed chiboque, 
sipping coffee, and paying him compliments through an in- 
terpreter. 

There were several guests in the room, chiefly his officers. 
They were, as the Albanians in general, finely-shaped men, 
with expressive countenances and spare forms. Their 
picturesque dress is celebrated ; though, to view it with 
full effect, it should bo seen upon an Albanian. The long 



310 CONTAEINI FLEMINa : 

hair, and the small cap, the crimson velvet vest and jacket, 
embroidered and embossed with golden patterns of the most 
elegant and flowing forms, the white and ample kilt, the 
ornamented buskins, and the belt full of silver-sheathed 
arms, it is difficult to find humanity in better plight. 

There was a considerable appearance of afi^urs and of 
patriarchal solicitude in the divan of Kalio Bey. It is pos- 
sible that it was not always as busy, and that he was not 
uninfluenced by the pardonable vanity of impressing a 
stranger with his importance and beneficence. Many per- 
sons entered ; and, casting off their slippers at the door, 
advanced and parleyed. To some was given money, to all 
directions ; and the worthy bey doled out his piastres and 
his instructions with equal solemnity. At length I succeeded 
in calling my host's attention to the purport of my visit, 
and he readily granted me an escort of twenty of his 
Albanians. He was even careful that they should be 
picked men ; and calculating that I might reach the capital 
in two days, he drew his writing materials from his belt, 
and gave me a letter to a Turkish bimbashee, or colonel, 
who was posted with his force in the mountains I was 
►about to pass, and under the only roof which probably 
remained between Arta and Yanina. He pressed me to 
remain his guest, though there was little, he confessed, to 
interest me ; but I was anxious to advance, and so, after 
many thanks, I parted from the kind Kalio Bey. 



CHAPTER XI. 



By day-break we departed, and journeyed for many hours 
over a wild range of the ancient Pindus, stopping only 
once for a short rest at a beautiful fountain of marble. 
Here we all dismounted and lighted a fire, boiled the coffee, 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL KOMANCE. 311 

and smoked our pipes. There were many fine groups ; but 
little Spiro was not so mucli delighted as I expected, at 
finding himself once more among his countrymen. 

An hour before sunset we found ourselves at a vast but 
dilapidated khan, as big as a Gothic castle, situate on a 
high range, and built, for the accommodation of travellers 
from the capital to the coast, by the great Ali Pacha, when 
his long and unmolested reign permitted that sagacious 
ruler to develop, in a country which combines the excel- 
lences of Western Asia and Southern Europe, some of the 
intended purposes of a beneficent Nature. This khan had 
now been converted into a military post; and here we 
found the Turkish commander, to whom E^alio Bey had 
given me a letter. He was a young man of elegant and 
pleasing exterior, but unluckily could not understand a 
word of Greek, and we had no interpreter. What was to 
be done? Proceed we could not, for there was not an 
inhabited place before Yanina; and here was I sitting 
before sunset on the same divan with my host, who had 
entered the place to receive me, and would not leave the 
room while I was there, without the power of communica- 
ting an idea. I was in despair, and also very hungry, and 
could not, therefore, in the courae of an hour or two, plead 
fatigue as an excuse for sleep ; for I was ravenous, and 
anxions to know what prospect of food existed in this wild 
and desolate mansion. So we smoked. It is a great 
resource. But this wore out; and it was so ludicrous, 
smoking and looking at each other, and dying to talk, and 
then exchanging pipes by way of . compliment, and then 
pressing our hands to our hearts by way of thanks. At 
last it occurred to me that I had some brandy, and that I 
would offer my host a glass, which might serve as a hint 
for what should follow so vehement a schnaps. Mashallah ! 
the effect was, indeed, miraculous. My mild friend smacked 
his lips, and instantly asked for another cup. We drank 



312 CONTARINI TXEMING: 

it in coflfee-CTips. A bottle of brandy was despatched in 
quicker time and fairer proportions than had ever solem- 
nised the decease of the same portion of Burgundy. We 
were extremely gay. The bimbashee ordered some dried 
figs, talking all the time, and indulging in grace^l panto- 
mime, examining my pistols, inquiring about percussion 
locks, which greatly surprised him, handing his owd, more 
ornamented although less effective, weapons for my in- 
spection ; and finally making out Greek enough to misan- 
derstand most ridiculously every observation communicated. 
But all was taken in good part, and I never met with snch 
a jolly fellow. 

In the meantime I became painfully ravenous ; for the 
dry, round, unsugary fig of Albania is a great whetter. At 
last I asked for bread. The bimbashee gravely bowed, and 
said, * Leave it to me, take no thought,' and nothing more 
occurred. I prepared myself for hungry dreams, when, to 
my great astonishment and delight, a capital supper was 
brought in, accompanied, to my equal horror, by wine. We 
ate with our fingers. It was the first time I had performed 
such an operation. You soon get used to it, and dash, but 
in turn, at the choice morsels with perfect coolness. One 
with a basin and ewer is in attendance, and the whole pro- 
cess is by no means so terrible as it would at first appear 
to European habits. For drinking ; we really drank with a 
rapidity which, with me, was unprecedented : the wine was 
not bad ; but had it been poison, the forbidden juice was 
such a compliment from a Moslem that I must quaff it alL 
We quaffed it in rivers. The bimbashee called for brandy. 
Unfortunately there was another bottle. We drank it all. 
The room turned round ; the wild attendants, who sat at 
our feet, seemed dancing in strange whirls ; the bimbashee 
shook hands with me: he shouted Italian, I Turkish 
* Buono, buono,' he had caught up ; * Pecche, pecche,' was 
my rejoinder,' which, let me inform the reader, although I 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL BOMANCE. 313 

do not even now know mucli more, is very good Turkisii. 
He shouted ; he would shake hands again. I remember no 
more. 

In the middle of the night I awoke. I found myself 
sleeping on the divan, rolled up in its sacred carpet. The 
bimbashee had wisely reeled to the fire. The thirst I felt 
was like that of Dives. All were sleeping except two, who 
kept up during the night the great wood fire. I rose, 
lightly stepping over my sleeping companions, and the 
shining arms which here and there informed mo that the 
dark mass wrapped up in a capote was a human being. I 
found Abraham's bosom in a flagon of water. I think I 
must have drunk a gallon at a draught. I looked at the 
wood fire, and thought of the blazing blocks in the hall of 
Jonsterna ; asked myself whether I were indeed in the 
mountain fastness of a Turkish chief; and, shrugging my 
shoulders, went to sleep, and woke without a headache. 



CHAPTER Xn. 



I PAETED from my jovial host the next morning very cor- 
dially, and gave him my pipe, as a memorial of our having 
got tipsy together. 

After crossing one more range of steep mountains we 
descended into a vast plain, over which we journeyed for 
some hours, the country presenting the same mournful 
aspect which I had too long observed; villages in ruins, 
and perfectly desolate ; khans deserted, and fortresses razed 
to the ground; olive woods burnt up, and fruit trees cut 
down. So complete had been the work of destruction, that 
I. often unexpectedly found my horse stumbling amid the 
foundations of a village, and what at first appeared the dry 
bed of a torrent often turned out to be the backbone of the 



314 CONTAiUNI FLEMING: 

skeleton of a ravaged town. At the end of the plain, im- 
mediately baoked by lofty mountains, and jutting into the 
beantifnl lake that bears its name, we suddenly came upon 
the city of Yanina ; suddenly, for a long tract of gradually 
rising ground had hitherto concealed it from our sight. At 
the distance from which I first beheld it, this city, once, if 
not the largest, one of the most thriving and brilliant in the 
Turkish dominions, was still imposing ; but when I entered, 
I soon found that all preceding desolation had been only 
preparative to the vast scene of destruction now before me. 
We proceeded through a street winding in its course, but of 
great length. Ruined houses, mosques with their tower 
only standing, streets utterly razed : these are nothing. We 
met with great patches of ruin a mile square, as if an army 
of locusts had had the power of desolating the works of 
man, as well as those of Grod. The great heart of the city 
was a sea of ruins : arches and pillars, isolated and shattered, 
still here and there jutting forth, breaking the uniformity 
of the annihilation, and turning the horrible into the pic- 
turesque. The great bazaar, itself a Httle town, had been 
burnt down only a few days before my arrival by an infiiriate 
band of Albanian warriors, who heard of the destruction of 
their chiefs by the Grand Yizir. They revenged themselves 
on tyranny by destroying civilisation. 

But while the city itself presented this mournful appear- 
ance, its other characteristics were anything but sad. At this 
moment a swarming population, arrayed in every possible 
and fanciful costume, buzzed and bustled in all directions. 
As I passed on, and myself of course not unobserved, where 
a Frank had not penetrated for nine years, a thousand 
objects attracted my restless attention and roving eye. 
Everything was so strange and splendid, that for a moment 
I forgot that this was an extraordinary scene even for the 
East, and gave up my fancy to a full credulity in the now 
almost obsolete magnificence of oriental life. I longed to 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL KOMANCE. 315 

write an Eastern tale. Military cliieftains, clothed in bril- 
liant colours and sumptuons furs, and attended by a cortege 
of officers equally, splendid, continually passed us. Now, 
for the first time, a dervish saluted me : and now a delhi, 
with his high cap, reined in his desperate steed, as the suite 
of some pacha blocked up some turning of the street. It 
seemed to me that my first day in a Turkish city brought 
before me all the popular characteristics of which I had 
read, and which I expected occasionally to observe during 
a prolonged residence. I remember, as I rode on this 
day, I observed a Turkish sheik, in his entirely green 
vestments ; a scribe, with his writing materials in his 
girdle; an ambulatory physician and his boy. I gazed 
about me with a mingled feeling of delight and wonder. 

Suddenly a strange, wild, unearthly drum is heard, and 
at the end of the street a huge camel, with a slave sitting 
cross-legged on its neck, and beating a huge kettledrum, 
appears, and is the first of an apparently interminable 
procession of his Arabian brethren. The camels were 
large ; they moved slowly, and were many in number. 
There were not fewer than one hundred moving on one by 
one. To me, who had till then never seen a caravan, it 
was a novel and impressive spectacle. AU immediately 
hustled out of the way of the procession, and seemed to 
shrink under the sound of the wild drum. The camels 
bore com for the Vizir's troops encamped without the 
walls. 

At length I reached the house of a Greek physician, to 
whom I carried letters. My escort repaired to the quarters 
of their chieftain's son, who was in the city in attendance on 
the Grand Vizir, and for myself I was glad enough once 
more to stretch my wearied limbs under a Christian roof. 




316 CONTARINI FLEMING: 



CHAPTER Xm. 

The next day I signified my arrival to the Kehaya Bey of 
his highness, and delivered, according to custom, a letter, 
with which I had been kindly provided by an eminent 
foreign functionary. The ensuing morning was fixed for 
my audience. I repaired at the appointed hour to the cele- 
brated fortress palace of Ali Pacha, which, although greatly 
battered by successive sieges, is still habitable, and still 
affords a fair idea of its pristine magnificence. Having 
passed through the gates of the fortress, I found myself in 
a number of small dingy streets, like those in the liberties 
of a royal castle. These were all full of life, stirring and 
excited. At length I reached a grand square, in which, on 
an ascent, stands the palace. I was hurried through courts 
and corridors, fall of guards, and pages, and attendant 
chiefs, and, in short, every variety of Turkish population : 
for among the Orientals all depends upon one brain ; and 
we, with our subdivisions of duty, and intelligent and re- 
sponsible deputies, can form no idea of the labour of a 
Turkish premier. At length I came to a vast irregular 
apartment, serving as the immediate antechamber of the 
hall of audience. This was the finest thing of the kind I 
had ever yet seen. I had never mingled in so picturesque 
an assembly. Conceive a chamber of great dimensions, full 
of the choicest groups of an oriental population, each indi- 
vidual waiting by appointment for an audience, and pro- 
bably about to wait for ever. It was a sea of turbans, and 
crimson shawls, and golden scarfs, and ornamented arms. 
I marked with curiosity the haughty Turk, stroking bis 
beard, and waving his beads ; the proud Albanian, strutting 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 317 

Tvith his tarragan, or cloak, dependent on one shoulder, and 
touching, with impatient fingers, his silver-sheathed arms ; 
the oHve-visaged Asiatic, with his enormous turhan and 
flowing robes, gazing, half with wonder and half with con- 
tempt, at some scarlet colonel of the newly disciplined 
troops, in his gorgeous but awkward imitation of Frank 
uniforms ; the Greek still servile,, though no more a slave ; 
the !N'ubian eunuch, and the Georgian page. 

In this chamber, attended by the drogueman, who pre- 
sented me, I remained about ten minutes ; too short a time. 
I never thought I could have lived to wish to kick my heels 
in a ministerial ante-chamber. Suddenly I was summoned 
to the awfiil presence of the pillar of the Turkish Empire, 
the man who has the reputation of being the mainspring of 
the new system of regeneration, the renowned Brcdschid, 
an approved warrior, a consummate politician, unrivalled 
8S a dissembler in a country where dissimulation is the 
principal portion of moral culture. The hall was vast, 
entirely covered with gilding and arabesques, inlaid with 
tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl. Here I beheld, squatted 
in a comer of the large divan, a little, ferocious-looking, 
shrivelled, care-worn man, plainly dressed, with a brow 
covered with wrinkles, and a countenance clouded with 
anxiety and thought. I entered the shed-like divan of the 
kind and comparatively insignificant Kalio Bey with a feel- 
ing of awe ; I seated myself on the divan of the Grand 
Vizir of the Ottoman Empire, who, as my attendant in- 
formed me, had destroyed in the course of the last three 
months, not in war, * upwards of four thousand of my 
acquaintance,' with the self-possession of a morning visit. 
At a distance frpm us, in a group on his left hand, were his 
secretary and his immediate suite. The end of the saloon 
was lined with tchawooshes, or lackeys in waiting, in 
crimson dresses, with long silver canes. 

Some compliments passed between us. I congratulated 



318 CONTAEINI FLEMING: 

his higliness on tlie pacification of Albania ; and he rejoined 
that the peace of the world was his only object, and the 
happiness of his fellow-creatures his only wish. Pipes and 
cofiee were brought, and then his highness waved his 
hand, and in an instant the chamber was cleared. 

He then told me that he had read the letter : that the 
writer was one whom he much loved, and that I should 
join the army, although of course I was aware that, as a 
Frank, I could hold no command. I told him that such 
was not my desire, but that, as I intended to proceed to 
Stamboul, it would be gratifying to me to feel that I had 
co-operated, however humbly, in the cause of a sovereign 
whom I greatly admired. A Tartar now arrived with des- 
patches, and I rose to retire, for I could perceive that the 
Vizir was overwhelmed with business, and, although cour- 
teous, moody and anxious. He did not press me to remain, 
but desired that I would go and visit his son, Amin Pacta, 
to whose care he consigned me. 

Amin,- Pacha of Yanina, was a youth of eighteen, but 
apparently ten years older. He was the reverse of his 
father : incapable in affairs, refined in manners, plunged in 
debauchery, and magnificent in dress. I found hiTn sur- 
rounded by his favourites and flatterers, reclining on his 
divan in a fanciful hussar uniform of blue cloth, covered 
with gold and diamonds, and worn under a Damascns 
pelisse of thick maroon silk, lined with white fox furs. I 
have seldom met with a man of more easy address and 
more polished breeding. He paid many compliments to 
the Franks, and expressed his wish to make a visit to the 
English at Corfu. As I was dressed in regimentals, he 
offered to show me his collection of military costumes, 
which had been made for him principally at Vienna. He 
also ordered one of his attendants to bring his manuscript 
book of cavalry tactics, which were unfortunately all ex- 
plained to me. I mention these slight traits, to show how 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL KOMANCE. 319 

eagerly the modem Turks pique themselves on European 
civilisation. After smoking and eating sweetmeats, a cus- 
tom indicative of friendship, he proposed that I should 
accompany him to the camp, where he was about to review 
a division of the forces. I assented. We descended to- 
gether, and I found a boy, with a barb magnificently 
caparisoned, waiting at the portal: of both these Amin 
begged my acceptance. Mounting, we proceeded to the 
camp ; nor do I think that the cortege of the young pacha 
consisted of fewer than a hundred persons, who were all 
officers, either of his household or of the cavalry regiment 
which he commanded. 



CHAPTER XEV. 



I GLADLY believe, that the increased efficiency of the 
Turkish troops compensates for their shorn splendour and 
sorry appearance. A shaven head, covered with a tight 
red cloth cap, a small blue jacket of coarse cloth, huge 
trousers of the same material, puckered out to the very 
stretch of art, yet sitting tight to the knee and cal^ mean 
accoutrements, and a pair of dingy slippers, behold the 
successor of the superb janissary ! Yet they perform their 
manoeuvres with precision, and have struggled even with 
the Russian infantry with success. The officer makes a 
better appearance. His dress, although of the same 
fashion, is of scarlet, and of fine cloth. It is richly em- 
broidered, and the colonel wears upon his breast a star and 
crescent of diamonds. At the camp of Yanina, however, I 
witnessed a charge of delhis with their scimitars, and a 
more effective cavalry I never wish to lead. 

We returned to the city, and I found that apartments 
were allotted to me in the palace, whither Lausanne and 
the rest had already repaired. In the evening the Vizir 



320 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

sent to me the first singer in Turkey, with several nmsi- 
cians. The singer chanted for an hour, in a wild, piercing 
voice, devoid both of harmony and melody, a triumphant 
ballad on the recent massacre of Yeli Bey and his rebel co- 
adjutors. Nothing appears to me more frightful than Turkish 
music ; yet it produces on those who are accustomed to it 
a great effect, and my room was filled with strangers, 
who hastened to listen to the enchanting and exciting 
strain. The Turkish music is peculiar, and different from 
that of other Eastern nations. I have seldom listened to 
more simple and affecting melodies than those with which 
the boatmen on the Nile are wont to soothe their labours. 

The dancing girls followed, and were more amusing; 
but I had not then seen the Almeh of Egypt. 

A week flew away at Yanina in receiving and returning 
visits from pachas, agas, and selictars, in smoking pipes, 
sipping coffee, and tasting sweetmeats. Each day the 
Vizir, or his son, sent me provisions ready prepared firom 
their table, and indicated by somo attention their con- 
siderate kindness. . There is no character in the world 
higher bred than a Turk of rank. Some of these men, 
too, I found intelligent, deeply interested in the politi- 
cal amelioration of their country, and warm admirers of 
Peter the Great. I remember with pleasure the agree- 
able hours I have spent in the society of Mehemet Aga, 
seHctar of the Pacha of Lepanto, a warrior to whom the 
obstinate resistance of Varna is mainly to be attributed, 
and a remarkably enHghtened man. Yet even he could not 
emancipate himself from their fatalism. For I remember, 
when once conversing with him on the equipments of the 
cavalry, a subject in which he was much interested, I sug- 
gested to him the propriety of a corps of cuirassiers. * A 
cuirass cannot stop the ball that bears youp fate,' he 
replied, shrugging up his shoulders and exclaiming *Mift- 
shallah ! ' 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL BOMANCE. 321 

While I was leading this novel and agreeable Kfe, news 
arrived that the Pacha of Scutari, who had placed himself 
at the head of the insurgent janissaries, and was the 
champion of the old party, had entered Albania at the 
head of sixty thousand men to avenge the massacre of the 
beys* 



CHAPTER XV. 



The Grand Vizir set off the same night with ten thousand 
meu, reached Ochrida by forced marches, attacked and 
routed a division of the rebel troops before they supposed 
him to be apprised of their movements, and again en- 
camped at Monastir, sending urgent commands to Yanina 
for his son to advance with the rest of the army. We met 
his Tartar on our march, and the divisions soon joined^ 
After a day's rest, we advanced, and entered the Pachalik 
of Scutari. 

The enemy, to our surprise, avoided an engagement. The 
fierce undisciplined warriors were frightened at our bayonets. 
They destroyed all before us, and hung with their vigilant 
cavalry on our exhausted rear. We had advanced on one 
side to Scutari; on the other we had penetrated into 
Itomelia. We carried everything before us, but we were in 
want of supplies, our soldiers were without food, and a skiU 
ful general and disciplined troops might have cut off all 
our communications. 

Suddenly, the order was given to retreat. We retreated 
plowly and in excellent order. Two regiments of the newly- 
organised cavalry, with whom I had the honour to act, 
covered the rear, and were engaged in almost constant 
skirmishing with the enemy. This skirmishing is exciting. 
We concentrated, and again encamped at Ochrida. 

We were in hopes of now drawing the enemy into an 

Y 



322 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

engagement, but lie was wary. In this situation, the Vizir 
directed that in the night a powerful division under the 
command of Mehemet Pacha of Lepanto (he who stabbed 
Ali Pacha) should fall back to Monastir with the artillery, 
and take up a position in the mountains. The ensuing 
night, his highness, after having previously spiked some 
useless guns, scattered about some tents and baggage wagons, 
and given a general appearance of a hurried and disorderly 
retreat, withdrew in the same direction. The enemy in- 
stantly pursued, rushed on, and attacked us fall of confidence. 
We contented ourselves by protecting our rear, but still 
retreated, and appeared anxious to avoid an engagement. 
In the evening, having entered the mountain passes, and 
reached the post of the Pacha of Lepanto, we drew up in 
battle array. 

It was a cloudy morning among the mountains, and some 
time before the mist cleared away. The enemy appeared 
to be in great force, filling the gorge through which we had 
retreated, and encamped on all the neighbouring eminences. 
When they perceived us, a large body instantly charged 
with the famous janissary shout, the terror of which I con- 
fess. I was cold, somewhat exhausted, for I had scarcely 
tasted food for two days, and for a moment my heart sank. 

They were received, to their surprise, by a well-directed 
discharge of artillery from our concealed batteries. They 
seemed checked. Our ranks opened, and a body of fire 
thousand fresh troops instantly charged thenx with the 
bayonet. This advance was sublime, and so exciting that, what 
with the shouts and cannonading, I grew mad, and longed 
to rush forward. The enemy gave way. Their great force 
was in cavalry, which could not act among the mountains. 
They were evidently astonished and perplexed. In a few 
minutes they were routed. The Vizir gave orders for a 
general charge and pursuit, and in a few minutes I was 
dashing over the hills in rapid chase of all i could catch, 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 323 

cutting, firing, shouting, and quite persnaded that a battle 
was, after all, the most delightful pastime in the world. 

The masses still charging, the groups demanding quarter, 
the single horseman bounding over the hills, the wHd, scared 
steeds without a rider, snorting and plunging, the dense 
smoke clearing away, the bright arms and figures flashing 
ever and anon in the moving obscurity, the wild shouts, the 
strange and horrible spectacles, the solitary shots and shrieks 
now heard in the decreasing uproar and the general feeling 
of energy, and peril, and triumph, it was all wonderful, and 
was a glorious moment in existence. 

The enemy was scattered like chaff. To rally them was 
impossible; and the chiefs, in despair, were foremost in 
flight. They offered no resistance, and the very men who, 
in the morning, would have been the first to attack a bat- 
tery, sabre in hand, now yielded in numbers, without a 
struggle, to an individual. There was a great slaughter, 
a vast number of prisoners, and plunder without end. My 
tent was filled with rich arms, and shawls, and stufis, and 
embroidered saddles. Lausanne and Tita were the next 
day both clothed in splendid Albanian dresses, and little 
Spiro plundered the dead as became a modem Greek. 

I reached my tent, dismounted from my horse, and leant 
upon it from exhaustion. An Albanian came forward, and 
offered a flask of Zitza wine. I drank it at a^ draught, and 
assuredly experienced the highest sensual pleasure. I took 
up two Cachemere shawls, and a gun mounted in silver, and 
gave them to the Albanian. Lucky is he who is courteous 
in the hour of plunder. 

The Vizir I understood to be at Ochrida, and I repaired 
to that post over the field of battle. The moon had risen, 
and tinged with its white light all the prominent objects of 
ihe scene of destruction ; groups of bodies, and now and 
then a palHd face, distinct and fierce ; steeds and standards, 
and arms, and shattered wagons. . Here and there a moving 

T 2 



324 CONTABINI FLEMINa: 

Hglit showed that the plunderer was still at his work ; and,- 
occasionally, seated on the carcass of a horse, and sometimes 
on the corpse of a human being, were some of the fortunate 
saryivors, smoking with fidmirable coolness, as if there were 
not on earth such a fearftil mystery as death. 

I fonnd the victorious Bedschid seated on a carpet in the 
moonlight in a cypress grove, and snrronnded by attendants, 
to whom he was deHvering instructions and distnbutang 
rewards. He appeared as calm and grave as usuaL Fer^ 
oeiving him thus engaged I mingled with the erowd, and 
stood aside, leaning on my sword ; but, observing me, he 
beckoned to me to advance, and pointing to his carpet, he 
gave me the pipe of honour from his own lips. As I seated 
myself by his side, I could not help viewing this eziira* 
ordinary man with great interest and curiosity. A ahorl 
time back, at this very place, he had perpetrated an act 
which would have rendered him infamous in a civilised land; 
the avengers meet him, as if by &>te, on the very scene <^ 
his bloody treachery, and — ^he is victorious. What is fife? 

So much for the battle of Bitoglia or Monastir, a veiy 
p?etty fray, although not as much talked of as AnsterHts or 
Waterloo, and which probably would have remained un- 
known to the great mass of European readers, had not % 
young Frank gentleman mingled, ivom. a silly fisuicy, in its 
lively business. 



CHAPTER XVI. 



The effect of the battle of Bitoglia was the complete paci- 
fication of Albania, and the temporary suppression of the 
conspiracies in the adjoining provinces. Had it been in the 
power of the Porte to reinforce at this moment its able and 
faithfdl servant, it is probable that the authoriiy of the 
Sultan would have been permanently consolidated in thes^ 



A PSYCHOLOaiCAL BOMANCB. 325 

-eoimtries. As it is, the finest regions in Enrope are still 
the prey of civil war, in too many instances excited by 
foreign powers for their miserable purposes against a prince 
who is only inferior to Peter the Great because he has pro- 
fited by his example. 

Tor myself, perceiving that there was no immediate 
prospect of active service, I determined to visit Greece, and 
I parted from his highness with the hope that I might 
oongratolate him at StambonL 



CHAPTER XVII. 

A COUNTBY of promontories, and gnlfs, and islands clustering 
in an azure sea; a country of wooded vales and purple 
mountains, wherein the cities are built on plains covered 
with olive woods, and at the base of an Acropolis, crowned 
with a temple or a tower. And there are quarries of white 
marble, and vines, and much wild honey. And wherever 
you move is some fair and elegant memorial of the poetic 
past ; a lone pillar on the green and silent plain, once echo- 
ing with the triumphant shouts of sacred games, the tqmb 
of a hero, or the fane of a god. Clear is the sky and fra- 
grant is the air, and at all seasons the magical scenery of 
this land is coloured with that mellow tint, and invested with 
that pensive character, which in other countries we conceive 
to be peculiar to autumn, and which beautifully associate 
with the recollections of the past. Enchanting Greece 1 



CHAPTER XVm. 



In the Argolic Gulf I found myself in the very heart of the 
Ghreek tragedy : Nauplia and Sparta, the pleasant Argos and 
the rich Mycene, the tomb of Agamemnon and the palace 



326 CONTAKINI FLEMING: 

of Clytemnestra. The fortunes of the house of Atreus foim 
the noblest of all legends. I believe in that Destiny before 
which the ancients bowed. Modem philosophy, with its 
superficial discoveries, has infused into the breast of man a 
spirit of scepticism ; but I think that, ere long, science will 
again become imaginative, and that, as we become more 
profound, we may become also more credulous. Destiny is 
our will, and our will is our nature. The son who inherits 
the organisation of the father will be doomed to the same 
fortunes as his sire; and again the mysterious matter in 
which his ancestors were moulded may, in other forms, by 
a necessary attraction, act upon his fate. All is mystery; 
but he is a slave who will not struggle to penetrate the 
dark veil. 

I quitted the Morea without regret. It is covered with 
Venetian memorials, no more to me a source of joy, and 
bringing back to my memory a country on which I no 
longer love to dwell. I cast anchor in a small but secure 
harbour, and landed. I climbed a hill, from which I looked 
over a plain, covered with olive woods, and skirted by 
mountains. Some isolated hills, of picturesque form, rose 
in the plain at a distance from the terminating range. 
On one of these I beheld a magnificent temple bathed in 
the sunset. At the foot of the craggy steep on which it 
rested was a walled city of considerable dimensions, in front 
of which rose a Doric fane of exquisite proportion, and 
apparently uninjured. The violet sunset threw over this 
scene a colouring becoming its loveliness, and if possible 
increasing its refined character. Independently of all asso- 
ciations, it was the most beautiftil spectacle that had ever 
passed before a vision always musing on sweet sights ; yet 
I could not forget that it was the bright capital of my youth- 
ful dreams, the fragrant city of the Violet Crown, the fiur, 
the sparkling, the deHcate Athens ! 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 327 



CHAPTER XrX. 

The illusion vanished when I entered Athens. I found it 
in scarcely a less shattered condition than the towns of 
Albania : ruined streets, and roofless houses, and a scanty 
population. The women were at Egina in security : a few 
males remained behind to watch the fortune of war. The 
Acropolis had not been visited by travellers for nine years, 
and was open to inspection for the first time the very day 
I entered. It was still in the possession of the Turks, but 
the Greek commission had arrived to receive the keys of 
the fortress. The ancient remains have escaped better than 
we could hope. The Parthenon and the other temples on the 
Acropolis have necessarily suffered in the sieges, but the 
injury is only in the detail ; the general effect is not marred, 
although I observed many hundred shells and cannon-balls 
lying about. 

The Theseum has not been touched, and looks, at a short 
distance, as if it were just finished by Cimon. The sump- 
tuous columns of the Olympium still rise from their stately 
platform, but the Choragic monument is sadly maimed, as 
I was assured, by English sailors and not Eastern barbarians ; 
probably the same marine monsters who have commemo- 
rated their fatal visit to Egypt and the name of the fell 
craft that bore them thither, by covering the granite pillar 
of Pompey with gigantic characters in black paint. 

The durability of the Parthenon is wonderftd. So far as 
I could observe, had it not been for the repeated ravages of 
man, it might at this day have been in as perfect condition 
as in the age of Pericles. Abstract time it has defied. Gilt 
and painted, with its pictures and votive statues, it must 
have been one of the most brilliant creations of human 



328 CONTAEINI FLEMINGS 

genins. Yet we err if we consider this famons btulding 
as an unparalleled effort of Grecian architectnre. Compared 
with the temples of Ionia and the Sicilian fanes, compared 
even with the Oljmpinm at its feet, the Parthenon could 
only rank as a church with a cathedral. 

In art the Greeks were the children of the Egyptians. 
The day may yet come when we shall do justice to the high 
powers of that mysterious and imaginative people. The 
origin of Doric and Ionic invention must be traced amid 
the palaces of Camac and the temples of Luzoor. For 
myself, I confess I ever gaze upon the marvels of art with a 
feeling of despair. With horror I remember that, through 
some mysterious necessity, civilisation seems to have de- 
serted the most feivoured regions and the choicest intellecta 
The Persian whose very being is poetry, the Arab whose 
subtle mind could penetrate into the very secret shrine of 
I^ature, the Greek whose acute perceptions seemed granted 
only for the creation of the beautiftil, these are now un- 
lettered slaves in barbarous lands. The arts are yielded to 
the flat-nosed Franks. And they toil, and study, and invent 
theories to account for their own incompetence. Now it is 
the climate, now the religion, now the government ; every- 
thing but the truth, everything but the mortifying suspicion 
that their organisation may be different, and that they may 
be as distinct a race from their models as they undoubtedly 
are from the Kalmuck and the Negro. 



CHAPTER XX. 



Whatever may have been the &ults of the ancient govern- 
ments, they were in closer relation to the times, to the 
countries and to the governed, than ours. The ancients 
invented their governments according to their wants ; the 



A PSYCHOLOaiCAL BOMANCE. 329 

-modems have adopted foreign policies, and then modelled 
their conduct upon this borrowed regulation. This circum- 
stance has occasioned our manners and our customs to be 
so confused, and absurd, and unphilosophical. What busi- 
ness had we, for instance, to adopt the Roman law, a law 
foreign to our manners, and consequently disadvantageous? 
He who profoundly meditates upon the situation of Modem 
Europe will also discover how productive of misery has 
been the senseless adoption of oriental customs by northern 
people. Whence came that divine right of kings, which 
has deluged so many countries with blood ? thatt pastoral 
and Syrian law of tithes, which may yet shake the founda* 
tion of so many ancient institutions ? 



CHAPTER XXL 

"Etejx as a child, I was struck by the absurdity of modem 
education. The duty of education is to give ideas. When 
our limited intelligence was confined to the Hterature of 
two dead languages, it was necessary to acquire those 
languages, in order to obtain the knowledge which they 
embalmed. But now each nation has its literature, each 
nation possesses, written in its own tongue, a record of all 
knowledge, and specimens of every modification of inven- 
tion. Let education then be confined to that national 
literature, and we should soon perceive the beneficial effects 
of this revolution upon the mind of the student. Study 
would then be a profitable delight. I pity the poor Gothic 
victim of the grammar and the lexicon. The Greeks, who 
were masters of composition, were ignorant of all languages 
but their own. They concentrated their study of the genius 
of expression upon one tongue. To this they owe that 
blended simplicity and strength of style which the imitative 
Romans, with all their splendour, never attained. 



330 CONTARINI FLEMIKa : 

To the few, however, who have leisnre or inclination to 
study foreign literatures, I will not reoommend to them tiie 
English, the Italian, the German, since they may rightly 
answer, that all these have been in great part founded upon 
the classic tongues, and therefore it is wise to ascend to the 
fountain-head ; but I will ask them for wliat reason thej 
would limit their experience to the immortal languages of 
Greece and Bome ? Why not study the oriental P Surely 
in the pages of the Persians and the Arabs we might dis- 
cover new sources of emotion, new modes of expression, 
new trains of ideas, new principles of invention, and new 
bursts of fancy. 

These are a few of my meditations amid the ruins of 
Athens. They will disappoint those who might justly 
expect an ebullition of classic rapture from one who has 
gazed upon Marathon by moonlight and sailed upon the 
free waters of Salamis. I regret their disappointment, but 
I have arrived at an age when I can think only of the fritare. 
A mighty era, prepared by the blunders of long centimes, 
is at hand. Ardently I hope that the necessary change in 
human existence may be effected by the voice of philosophy 
alone : but I tremble, and I am silent. There is no bigotry 
so terrible as the bigotry of a country that flatters itself 
that it is philosophicaL 



CHAPTER XXII. 



Undeestanding that the Turkish squadron I left at Prevesa 
had arrived at Negropont, I passed over, and paid a visit 
to its commander, EEalil Pacha, with whom I was acquainted. 
Halil informed me that all remained quiet in Albania, but 
that Redschid did not venture to return. He added that 
he himself was about to sail for Stamboul immediately, and 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 331 

proposed tliiat I should accompany him. His offer suited 
•me, and, as the wind was fair, in a few hours we were all 
iOn board. 

I had a splendid view of Sunium ; its columns against a 
dark cloud looked like undriven snow, and we were soon 
Bjnong the Cyclades. Sixteen islands were in sight, and 
we were now making our course in the heart of them. An 
Archipelago by sunset is lovely : small isles of purple and 
. gold studding the glowing waters. The wind served well 
through the night, but we were becalmed the next day off 
Mitylene. In the afternoon a fresh breeze sprang up and 
carried us to the Dardanelles. 

We were yet, I believe, upwards of a hundred miles from 
Constantinople. What a road to a great city! narrower 
luid much longer than the strait of Gibraltar, but not with 
4Biich sublime shores. Asia and Europe looked more kindly 
on each other than Europe and her more sultry sister. I 
foxmd myself the n«xt morning becakned off Troy : a vast, 
hilly, uncultivated plain ; a scanty riU, a huge tumulus, 
some shepherds and their flocks ; behold the kingdom of 
-Priam, and the successors of Paris ! 

A signal summoned us on board ; the wind was fair and 
&esh. We scudded along with great swiftness, passing 
many towns and fortresses. Each dome, each minaret, I 
thought was Constantinople. At last it came ; we were in 
full sight. Masses of habitations, grouped on gentle accH- 
vities, rose on all sides out of the water, part in Asia, part 
in Europe ; a gay and confused vision of red buildings, and 
dark-green cypress groves, hooded domes, and millions of 
minarets. As we approached the design became more 
obvious. The groups formed themselves into three con- 
siderable cities, intersected by arms of the sea. Down one 
of these, rounding the Seraglio point, our vessel held her 
course. We seemed to glide into the heart of the capital. 
The water was covered with innumerable boats, as swift as 



332 COirrAEINI ELKMma: 

gondolas and far more gay, cnrioiislj carved and riclilj 
gilt. In all parts swarmed a showy population. The 
characteristic of the whole scene was brilliancy. The 
houses glittered, the waters sparkled, and flocks of white 
and sacred birds glanced in the golden air, and skimmed 
over the blue wave. On one side of the harbour waa 
moored the Turkish fleet, dressed out in all their colours. 
Our course was ended, and we cast our anchor in the 
famous Golden Horn. 



CHAPTER XXm. 



No picture can ever convey a just idea of Constantinoplei 
I have seen several that are faiths, as far as they extend; 
but the most comprehensive can exhibit coily a small pcnv 
tion of this extraordinary city. By land or by water, in 
every direction, passing up the Gk)lden Horn to the valley 
of Fresh Waters, or proceeding, on the other hand, down 
the famous Bosphorus to Buyukdere and Terapia, to the 
Euxine, what infinite novelty! New kiosks, new hills, 
new windings, new groves of cypress, and new forests of 
chestnut, open on all sides. 

The two most remarkable things at Constantinople are 
the Bosphorus and the Bazaar. Conceive the ocean a 
stream not broader than the Bhine, with shores presenting 
all the beauty and variety of that river, running between 
gentle slopes covered with rich woods, gardens, and sum- 
mer-palaces, cemeteries and mosques, and villages, and 
bounded by sublime mountains. The view of the Euxine 
from the heights of Terapia, just seen through the end of 
the Straits, is like gazing upon eternity. 

The bazaar is of a different order, but not less remaik* 
able. I never could obtain from a Turk any estimate ct 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 333 

the ground it covered. Several, in the habit of daily at- 
tendance, have mentioned to me that they often find them- 
selves in divisions they have not before visited. Fancy a 
Parisian panorama passage, fancy perhaps a square mile 
covered with these arcades, intersecting each other in all 
directions, and fall of every product of the empire, from 
diamonds to dates. This will give you some idea of the 
Great Bazaar at Constantinople. The dealers, in every 
possible costume, sit cross-legged in their stalls, and dealers 
in the same article usually congregate together. The 
armourers, the grocers, the pipe-makers, the jewellers, the 
shawl-sellers, the librarians, all have their distinct quarter. 
Now you walk along a range of stalls filled with fancifdl 
slippers of cloth and leather, of all colours, embroidered 
with gold or powdered with pearls ; now you are .in a street 
of confectionery ; and now you are cheapening a Damascus 
sabre in the bazaar of arms, or turning over a vividly illu- 
minated copy of Hafiz in that last stronghold of Turkish 
bigotry, the quarter of the vendors of the Koran. The 
magnificence, noveliy, and variety of the goods on sale, the 
whole nation of shopkeepers, all in different dress, the 
crowds of buyers from all parts of the world, I only hint at 
these traits. S/sre every people has a characteristic cos- 
tume. Turks, Greeks, Jews, and Armenians are the staple 
population : the latter are numerous. The Armenians wear 
round and very unbecoming black caps and flowing robes ; 
the Jews, a black hat wreathed with a white handkerchief; 
the Greeks, black turbans. The Turks are fond of dress, 
and indulge in all combinations of costume. Of late, 
among the young men in the capital, it has been the fashion 
to discard the huge turban and the ample robes, and they 
have formed an exceedingly ungraceful dress upon the 
fVank; but vast numbers cling to the national costume, 
especially the Asiatics, renowned for the prodigious height 
ted multifarious folds of their head-gear. 



334 CONTAKINI FTiRMTNa; 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

Halil Pacha paid me a visit one day at my residence on 
the Bosphoms, and told me that he had mentioned mj 
name to the Saltan, who had expressed a desire to see me. 
As it is not etiquette for the Padishah to receive Franks, I 
was, of course, as sensible to the high honour as I was 
anxious to become acquainted with the extraordinary man 
who was about to confer it. 

The Sultan was at this moment at a palace on the Bos- 
phorus, not far from Tophana. Hither on the appointed 
day I repaired with Halil and the drogueman of the Porte, 
We were ushered into a chamber, where a principal officer 
of the household received us, and where I smoked out of a 
pipe tipped with diamonds, and sipped coffee perfumed 
with roses out of cups studded with precious stones. 

When we had remained here for about half an hour, 
Mustapha, the private secretary and favourite of the Sultan 
entered, and, after saluting us, desired us to follow him. 
We proceeded along a corridor, at the end of which stood 
two or three eunuchs, richly dressed, and then the door 
opened, and I found myself in an apartment of moderate 
size, painted with indifferent arabesques in fresco, and sur- 
rounded with a divan of crimson velvet and gold. Seated 
upon this, with his feet on the floor, his arms folded, and 
in an hussar dress, was the Grand Signer. 

As we entered he slightly touched his heart, according 
to the fashion of the Orientals ; and Mustapha, setting ns 
an example, desired us to seat ourselves. I fancied, and I 
was afterwards assured of the correctness of my observa- 
tion, that the Sultan was very much constrained, and very 
little at his ease. The truth is, he is totally unused to in- 
terviews with strangers ; and this was for him a more noTol 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 335 

situation than for me. His constraint wore off as conversation 
proceeded. He asked a great many questions, and often 
laughed, turning to Mustapha with a familar nod when my 
replies pleased him. He inquired much about the Albanian 
war. Without flattering my late commander, it was in 
my power to do him service. He asked me what service I 
had before seen, and was evidently surprised when I in- 
formed hjm I was only an amateur. He then made many 
inquiries as to the European forces, and in answering them 
I introduced some opinions on politics, which interested 
bim. He asked me who I was. I told him I was the son 

of the Prime Minister of , a power always friendly to 

the Ottoman. His eyes sparkled, and he repeated several 
times, * It is well, it is well ; ' meaning, I suppose, that he 
did not repent of the interview. He told me that in two 
years' time he should have two hundred thousand regular 
infantry ; that, if the Russian war could have been post- 
poned another year, he should have beat the Muscovites ; 
that the object of the war was to crush his schemes of 
regeneration ; that he was betrayed at Adrianople, as well 
as at Varna. He added that he had only done what Peter 
the Great had done before him, and that Peter was thwarted 
by unsuccessfal wars, yet at last succeeded. 

I, of course, expressed my conviction that his highness 
would be as fortunate. 

The Padishah then abruptly said that all his subjects 
should have equal rights ; that there should be no difference 
between Moslem and infidel ; that all who contributed to 
the government had a right to the same protection. 

Here Mustapha nodded to Halil, and we rose, and bow- 
ing, quitted the presence of a really great man. 

I found at the portal a fine Arabian steed, two Cachemire 
shawls, a scarlet cloak of honour, with the collar embroi- 
dered with gold and fastened with diamond clasps, a sabre, 
and two superb pipes. This was my reward for charging 
with the Turkish cavalry at Bitoglia. 



336 CONTAEINI FLEMING : 



CHAPTER XXV. 

One of the most carious things at Constantiiiople is the 
power you have in the Capital of the East, of placing your, 
self in ten minutes in a lively Frank town. Such is Pera. 
I passed there the winter months of December and Januaiy 
in agreeable and intelligent society. My health improved, 
but my desire of wandering increased. I began to think that 
I should now never be able to settle in life. The desire of 
fame did not revive. I felt no intellectual energy ; I required 
nothing more than to be amused. And having now passed 
four or five months at Stamboul, and seen all its wonders, 
from the interior of its mosques to the dancing dervishes, 
I resolved to proceed. So, one cold morning in February, 
I crossed over to Scutari, and pressed my wandering foot 
upon Asia. 



EKD OF THE FIFTH PAST* 



837 



PAET THE SIXTH. 



CHAPTER I. 

I WAS now in tlie great Peninsula of Asia Minor, a country 
admirably fortified by Nature, abounding in yast, luxuriant, 
and enchanting plains, from whicb a scanty population 
derive a difficult subsistence, and watered by broad rivers- 
rolling through soHtude. 

As I journeyed along I could not refrain from contrast- 
ing the desolation of the present with the refinement of the 
ppfit, and calling up a vision of the ancient splendour of this 
famous country. I beheld those glorious Greek federations 
that covered the provinces of the coast with their rich cul- 
tivation and brilliant cities. Who has not heard of the 
green and bland Ionia, and its stiU more fruitful, although 
less picturesque, sister, the rich uEolis? Who has not 
heard of the fane of Epheaus, and the Anacreontic Teios ; 
Chios, with its rosy wine ; and Cnidos, with its rosy god- 
dess; Colophon, Priene, Phoceea, Samos, Miletos, the 
splendid Halicamassus, and the sumptuous Cos, magnifi- 
cent cities, abounding in genius and luxury, and all the 
polished refinement that ennobles life! Everywhere around, 
these free and famous citizens disseminated their liberty 
and their genius ; in the savage Tauris ; and on the wild 
shores of Pontus ; on the banks of the Borysthenes, and by 
the waters of the rapid Tyras. The islands in their vicinity 
shared their splendour and their felicity ; the lyrio LesboSi 
and Tenedos with its woods and vines, and those glorious 
gardens, the fortunate Cyprus, and the proHfio Rhodes, 

Under the empire of Rome the Peninsula of Asia enjoyed 

z 



338 CONTARIXI FLEMING-: 

a not less eminent prosperity. The interior provinces vied 
in wealth and civilisation with the ancient colouies of the 
coast. Then the cavalry of Cappadocia and Paphlagonia 
were famous as the Lycian mariners, the soldiers of PontuB, 
and the bowmen of Armenia ; then Galatia sent forth her 
willing and welcome tribute of com, and the fimitfiil 
Bithynia rivalled the Pamphylian pastures, the vines of 
Phrygia, and the Pisidian olives. Tarsus, Ancyra, Sardis, 
Ceesarea, Sinope, Amisus, were the great and opulent 
capitals of these flourishing provinces. Alexandria rose 
upon the ruins of Troy, and NicsBa and Nicomedia ranked 
with the most celebrated cities. 

And now the tinkling bell of the armed and wandering 
caravan was the only indication of human existence ! 

It is in such scenes as these, amid the ruins of ancient 
splendour and the recollections of vanished empire, that 
philosophers have pondered on the nature of government, 
and have discovered, as they fancied, in the consequences 
of its various forms, the causes of duration or of decay, of 
glory or of humiliation. Freedom, says the sage, will lead 
to prosperity, and despotism to destruction. 

Yet has this land been regulated by every form of 
government that the ingenuity of man has devised. The 
federal republic, the military empire, the oriental despotism, 
have in turn controlled its fortunes. The deputies of free 
states have here assembled in some universal temple which 
was the bond of union between their cities. Here lias the 
proconsul presided at his high tribunal: and here the pacha 
reposes in his divan. The Pagan fane, and the Christian 
church, and the Turkish mosque, have here alike been 
erected to form the opinions of the people. The legends of 
Chaos and Olympus are forgotten, the sites of the seven 
churches cannot even be traced, and nothing is left bnt the 
revelations of the son of Abdallah, a volume, the whole 
object of which is to convert man into a fanatic slave. 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 339 

Is there tlien no hope ? Is it an irrevocable doom, that 
society shall be created only to be destroyed ? When I 
can accept such a dogma, let me also believe that the bene- 
ficent Creator is a malignant demon. Let us meditate 
more deeply ; let us at length discover that no society can 
long subsist that is based upon metaphysical absurdities. 

The law that regulates man must be founded on a know- 
ledge of his nature, or that law leads him to ruin. What 
is the nature of man ? In every cUme and in every creed 
we shall find a new definition. 

Before me is a famous treatise on human nature, by a 
Professor of Konigsberg. "No one has more profoundly 
meditated on the attributes of his subject. It is evident 
that, in the deep study of his own intelligence, he has dis- 
covered a noble method of expounding that of others. Tet 
when I close his volumes, can I conceal from myself that 
all this time I have been studying a treatise upon the 
nature, not of man, but, of a German ? 

What then ! Is the German a difierent animal from the 
Italian? Let me inquire in turn, whether you conceive 
the negro of the Gold Coast to be the same being as the 
Esquimaux, who tracks his way over the polar snows ? 

The most successful legislators are those who have con- 
sulted the genius of the people. But is it possible to render 
that which is the occasional consequence of fine observation 
the certain result of scientific study ? 

One thing is quite certain, that the system we have pur- 
sued to attain a knowledge of man has entirely failed. Let 
us disembarrass ourselves of that 'moral philosophy* which 
has filled so many volumes with words. History will always 
remain a pleasant pastime ; it never could have been a pro- 
fitable study. To study man from the past is to suppose 
that man is ever the same animal, which I do not. Those 
who speculated on the career of Napoleon had ever a dog's- 
eared annalist to refer to. The past equally proved that 

z 2 



340 CONTAEINI FLEMING: 

he was both a Cromwell and a Washington. Prophetic 
Past ! He turned out to be the first. But suppose be had 
been neither ; suppose he had proved a Sylla ? 

Man is an animal, and his natnre must be studied as that 
of all other animals. The almighty Creator has breathed 
his spirit into us ; and we testify our gratitude for this 
choice boon by never deigning to consider what may be 
the nature of our intelligence. The philosopher, however, 
amid this darkness, will not despair. He will look forward 
to an age of rational laws and beneficent education. He 
Avill remember that all the truth he has attained has been 
by one process. He will also endeavour to become ac- 
quainted with himself by demonstration, and not by dogma. 



CHAPTER n. 

One fair spring morning, with a clear blue sky, and an 
ardent but not intense sun, I came in sight of the whole 
coast of Syria ; very high and mountainous, and the loftiest 
ranges covered with snow. 

I had sailed from Smyrna, through its lovely gulf, vaster 
and more beautiful than the Ambracian, found myself inuk 
new archipelago, the Sporades ; and, having visited Bhodes 
and Cyprus, engaged at the last island a pilot to take VB to 
the most convenient Syrian port. 

Syria is, in fact, an immense chain of mountains, extend- 
ing from Asia Minor to Arabia. In the course of this great 
chain an infinity of branches constantly detach themselves 
from the parent trunk, forming on each side, either towards 
the desert or the sea, beautiful and fertile plains. Washed 
by the Levantine wave, on one side we behold the once 
luxurious Antioch, now a small and dingy Turkish town. 
The traveller can no longer wander in the voluptuous woods 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 341 

of Daphne. The palace and the garden pass away with the 
refined genius and the delicate taste that create. them ; but 
Nature is eternal, and even yet the valley of the Orontes 
offers, under the glowing light of an eastern day, scenes of 
picturesque beauty that Switzerland cannot surpass. The 
hills of Laodicea, once famous for their wine, are now cele- 
brated for producing the choicest tobacco of the East. 
Tripoli is a flourishing town, embosomed in wild groves of 
Tndian figs, and famous for its fruits and silks. Advancing 
along the coast we reach the ancient Berytus, whose tobacco 
vies with Laodicea, and whose silk surpasses that of Tripoli. 
We arrive at all that remains of the superb Tyre ; a small 
peninsula and a mud village. The famous Acre is still the 
most important place upon the coast ; and Jaffa, in spite of 
so many wars, is yet fragrant amid its gardens and groves 
of lemon trees. 

The towns on the coast have principally been built on 
the sites and ruins of the ancient cities whose names they 
bear. None of them have suflcient claims to the character 
of a capital ; but on the other side of the mountains we 
find two of the most important of oriental cities, the popu- 
lous Aleppo, and the delicious Damascus ; nor must we 
forget Jerusalem, that city sacred in so many creeds ! 

In ancient remains, Syria is inferior only to Egypt. All 
have heard of the courts of Baalbec and the columns of 
Palmyra. Less known, because only recently visited, and 
visited with extreme danger, are the vast ruius of magni- 
fi.cent cities in the Arabian vicinity of the lake Asphaltites. 

The climate of this country is various as its formation. 
Li the plains is often experienced that intense heat so fatal 
to the European invader ; yet the snow, that seldom falls 
upon the level ground, or falls only to vanish, rests upon 
the heights of Lebanon, and, in the higher lands, it is not 
difficult at all times to discover exactly the temperature you 
desire. I travelled in Syria at the commencement of the 



342 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

year, wlien the short but violent rainy season had just 
ceased. It is not easy to conceive a more beantifdl and 
j&Tiitfal land. The plains were covered with that fresh green 
tint so rare nnder an Eastern sky ; the orange and lemon 
trees were clothed both with frnit and blossom ; and then, 
too, I first beheld the huge leaf of the banana, and tasted 
for the first time the delicate flavonr of its unrivalled fimit. 
From the great eitent of the country, and the consequent 
variation of clime, the Syrian can always command a suc- 
cession, as well as a variety, of luxuries. The season of the 
pomegranate will commence in Antioch when it ends iu 
Jafia ; and when you have exhausted the figs of Beyroot, 
you can fly to the gardens of Damascus, tfnder the worst 
government that perhaps ever oppressed its subjects, Syria 
still brings forth the choice productions of abnost every 
clime ; com and cotton, maize and rice, the sugar-cane of 
the Antilles, and the indigo and cochineal of Mexico. The 
plains of Antioch and of Palestine are covered with woods 
of the finest olives, the tobaccoes of the coast are unrivalled 
in any country ; and the mountains of Lebanon are clothed 
with white mulberry-trees that afford the richest silks, or 
with vineyards that yield a wine which justly bears the 
name of Golden. 

The inhabitants of this country are various as its pro- 
ductions and its mutable fortunes. The Ottoman conqueror 
is now the lord, and rules the posterity of the old Syrian 
Greeks and of the Arabs, who were themselves once pre- 
dominant. In the mountains, the independent and myste- 
rious Druses live in freedom under their own Emir ; and 
in the ranges near Antioch we find the Ansaree tribes, who, 
it is whispered, yet celebrate the most singular rites of 
Paganism. In the deserts around Aleppo wander the pas- 
toral Kourd and the warlike Turkoman ; and from Tadmor 
to Gaza the whole Syrian desert is traversed by the famous 
Bedouin. 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 343 

There is a charm in oriental life, and it is Repose. Upon 
me, who had been bred in the artificial circles of corrupt 
civilisation, and who had so freely indxdged the cottrse of 
Ma impetuous passions, this character made a forcible 
impression. Wandering over those plains and deserts, and 
sojourning in those silent and beautifol cities, I experienced 
all the serenity of mind which I can conceive to be the 
enviable portion of the old age of a virtuous life. The 
memory of the wearing cares, and corroding anxieties, and 
vaunted excitement of European life, filled me with pain. 
Keenly I felt the vanity and littleness of all human plans 
and aspirations. Truly may I say that on the plains of 
Syria I parted for ever with my ambition. The calm en- 
joyment of existence appeared to me, as it now does, the 
highest attainable feliciiy ; nor can I conceive that anything 
could tempt me from my solitude, and induce me once more 
to mingle with mankind, with whom I have little in com- 
mon, but the strong conviction that the fortunes of my race 
depended on my efibrt, or that I could materially advance 
that great amelioration of their condition, in the practica- 
bOifcy of which I devoutly believe. 



CHAPTER III. 



I GALLOPED over an illimitable plain, covered with a vivid 
though scanty pasture, and fragrant with aromatic herbs. 
A soft, fresh breeze danced on my cheek, and brought vigour 
to my frame. Day after day I journeyed, and met with no 
sign of human existence ; no village, no culture, no resting 
place, not even a tree. Day after day I journeyed, and 
the land indicated no termination. At an immense dis- 
tance the sky and the earth blended in a uniform horizon. 
Sometimes, indeed, a rocky vein shot out of the soil ; some- 
times, indeed, the land would swell into long undulations ; 



344 CONTARINI FLEMING : 

sometimes, indeed, from a dingle of wild bushes a gazelle 
would rush forward, stare, and bound away. 

Such was my first wandering in the Syrian desert ! But 
remember it was the burst of spring. I could conceire 
nothing more deHghtful, nothing more unlike what I had 
anticipated. The heat was never intense, the breeze was 
ever fresh and sweet, the nocturnal heavens luminous 
and clear to a degree which it is impossible to describe. 
Instead of that uniform appearance and monotonous 
splendour I had hitherto so ofben gazed on, the stars 
were of diflFerent tints and forms. Some were green, 
some white, some red; and^ instead of appearing as if 
they only studded a vast and azure vault, I clearly, dis- 
tinguished them, at different distances, floating in ether. 

I no longer wondered at the love of the Bedouins for 
their free and unsophisticated earth. It appeared to me, 
that I could have lived in the desert for ever. At night 
we rested. Our camels bore us water in goat-skins, cakes 
of fuel, which they themselves produced, and scanty, al- 
though sufficient, provisions. We lit our fire, pounded our 
coffee, and smoked our pipes, while others prepared our 
simple meal, bread made at the instant, and on the cinders, 
a slice of dried meat, and a few dates. 

I have described the least sterile of the deserts, and I 
have described it at the most favourable period. In general 
the soil of the Syrian wilderness is not absolutely barren. 
The rains cover it with verdure, but these occur only for a 
few weeks, when the rigour of a winter day arrests 
the clouds, and they dissolve into showers. At all other 
seasons they glide over the scorched and heated plain, 
which has neither hills nor trees to attract them. It is the 
want of water which is the occasion of this sterility. In 
the desert there is not even a brook ; springs are rare and 
generally brackish ; and it is on the artificial wells, stored 
by the rains, that the wanderer chiefly depends. 



A PSYCHOLOaiCAL ROMANCE. 845 

From tlie banks of the Euphrates to the shores of the 
Eed Sea ; from the banks of the Nile to the Persian Gulf, 
over a spread of country three times the extent of Germany, 
Nature, without an interval, ceases to produce. Beneficent 
Nature ! Let us not wrong her ; for, even in a land appa- 
rently so unfavoured, exists a numerous and happy race. 
As you wander along, the appearance of the desert changes. 
The wilderness, which is comparatively fertile in Syria, 
becomes rocky when you enter Arabia, and sandy as you 
proceed. Here in some degree we meet with the terrible 
idea of the desert prevalent in Europe ; but it is in Africa, 
in the vast and unexplored regions of Libya and Zahara, 
that we must seek for that illimitable and stormy ocean of 
overwhelming sand which we associate with the popular 
idea of the desert. 

The sun was nearly setting, when an Arab horseman, 
armed with his long lance, was suddenly observed on an 
eminence in the distance. He galloped towards us, wheeled 
round and round, scudded away, again approached, and our 
guide, shouting, rode forward to meet him. They entered 
into earnest conversation, and then joined us. Abdallah, 
the guide, informed me that this was an Arab of the tribe 
I intended to visit, and that we were very near their en- 
campment. 

The desert was here broken into bushy knolls, which 
limited the view. Advancing and mounting the low ridge 
on which we had first observed the Bedouin, Abdallah 
pointed out to me at no great distance a large circle of low 
black tents, which otherwise I might not have observed, or 
have mistaken them in the deceptive twilight for some 
natural formation. On the left of the encampment was 
a small grove of palm trees ; and when we had nearly 
gained the settlement, a procession of women in long blue 
robes, covering with one hand their faces with their veils, 
and with the other supporting on their heads a tall and 



846 CONTAKTNI FLBMINa : 

classically formed vase, advanced with a .beantiM melody 
to tlie fountain, which was screened by the palm trees. 

The dogs barked : some dark faces and long matchlocks 
suddenly popped up behind the tents. 

The Bedouin, with a shout, galloped into the encamp- 
ment, and soon reappeared with several of his tribe. We 
dismounted, and entered the interior court of the camp, 
which was filled with camels and goats. There were few 
persons visible, although, as I was conducted along to the 
tent of the chief, I detected many faces staring at me from 
behind the curtains of their tents. The pavilion of the 
scheik was of considerable size. He himself was a man 
advanced in years, but hale and lively; his long white 
beard curiously contrasting with his dark visage. He re- 
ceived me, sitting on a mat, his son standing on his right 
hand without his slippers, and a young grandchild squatting 
by his side. 

He welcomed me with the usual oriental salutation; 
touching his forehead, his mouth, and his heart, while he 
exclaimed 'Salam;' thus indicating that all his &culties 
and feelings were devoted to me. He motioned that we 
should seat ourselves on the unoccupied mats, and taking 
from his mouth a small pipe of date wood, gave it to his 
son to bear to me. A servant instantly began pounding 
coffee. I then informed him, through Abdallah, that, having 
heard of his hospitality and happy life, I had journeyed 
even from Damascus to visit him ; that I greatly admired 
the Bedouin character, and eulogised their valour, their 
independence, their justice, and their simplicity. 

He answered that he Hked to be visited by Franks, 
because they were wise men, and requested that I would 
feel his pulse. 

I performed this ceremony with becoming gravity, and 
inquired whether he were indisposed. He said that he was 
well, but that he might be better. I told hJTyi that his 



A PSYCHOLOaiCAL KOMANCE. 347 

poise was healthy and strong for one of his age, and I 
begged to examine his tongue, which greatly pleased him ; 
and he observed that he was eighty years of age, and conld 
ride as well and as long as his son. 

Coffee was now brought. I ventured to praise it. He 
said it was well for those who had not wine. I observed 
that wine was not suited to these climes, and that, although 
a Frank, I had myself renounced it. He answered that 
the Franks were fond of wine, but that, for his part, he had 
never tasted it, although he should like once to do so. 

I regretted that I could not avail myself of this delicate 
hint, but Lausanne produced a bottle of eau-de-Cologne, 
and I offered him a glass. He drank it with great gravity, 
and asked for some for his son, observing it was good raki, 
but not wine. I suspected from this that he was not totally 
unacquainted with the flavour of the forbidden liquor, and 
I dared to remark with a smile, that raki had one advantage 
over wine, that it was not forbidden by the prophet. Un- 
like the Turks, who never understand a jest, he smiled, and 
then said that the Book (meaning the Koran) was good for 
men who lived in cities, but that God was everywhere. 

Several men now entered the tent, leaving their slippers 
on the outside, and some saluting the scheik as they passed, 
seated themselves. 

I now inquired after horses, and asked him whether he 
conld assist me in purchasing some of the true breed. The 
old scheik's eyes sparkled as he informed me that he pos- 
sessed four mares of pure blood, and that he would not 
part with one, not even for fifty thousand piastres. After 
this hint, I was inclined to drop the subject, but the scheik 
seemed interested by it, and inquired if the Franks had any 
horses. 

I answered, that some Frank nations were famous for 
their horses, and mentioned the English, who had a superb 
race from the Arabs. He said he had heard of the English ; 



848 



CONTABINI ELEMDra: 



and asked me whicli was the greatest natioh of the Franks. 
I told him there were several equally powerfol, but perbi^ 
that the English nation might be fiurlj described as the mo6t 
important. He answered, ' Ay ! on the sea, but not on land.' 

1 was surprised by the general knowledge indicated by 
this remark, and more so when he ftirther observed that 
there was another nation stronger by land. . I mentioned 
the Bussians. He had not heard of them, notwithstanding 
the recent war with the Porte. The French ? I inquired. 
He knew the French, and then told me lie had been at the 
siege of Acre, which explained all this intelligence. He 
then inquired, if I were an Englishman. I told him mj 
country, but was not astonished that he bad never heard ci 
it. I observed that, when the old man spoke, he "was 
watched by his followers with the greatest attention, and 
they grinned with pride and exultation at bis knowledge of 
the Franks, showing their white teeth, elevatmg their eyes, 
and exchanging looks of wonder. 

Two women now entered the tent, at which I was sur- 
prised. They had returned from the fountain, and wore 
small black masks, which covered the upper part of the 
face. They knelt down at the fire, and made a cake of 
bread, which one of them handed to me. I now offered to 
the scheik my own pipe, which Lausanne had prepared. 
Coffee was again handed, and a preparation of sour milk 
and rice, not unpalatable. 

I offered the scheik renewed compliments on his mode of 
life, in order to maintain conversation; for the chiefs 
althoagh, like the Arabs in general, of a lively tempera- 
ment, had little of the curiosity of what are considered the 
more civilised Orientals, and asked very few questions. 

* We are content,* said the scheik. 

' Then believe me you are in the condition of no other 
people,' I replied. 

' My children,' said the scheik, ' hear the words of this 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 849 

wise man ! K we lived with the Turks,' contintied the 
chieftain, * we should have more gold and silver, and more 
clothes, and carpets, and baths ; but we should not have 
justice and liberty. Our luxuries are few, but our wants 
are fewer.* 

* Tet you have neither priests nor lawyers ? ' 

* When men are pure, laws are useless ; when men are 
corrupt, laws are broken.' 

* And for priests ? ' 

* God is everywhere.* 

The women now entered with a more substantial meal, 
the hump of a young camel. I have seldom eaten anything 
more delicate and tender. This dish was a great compli- 
ment, and could only have been offered by a wealthy scheik. 
Pipes and coffee followed. 

The moon was shining brightly, when, making my 
excuses, I quitted the pavilion of the chieftain, and went 
forth to view the humours of the camp. The tall camels, 
crouching on their knees in groups, with their outstretched 
necks and still and melancholy visages, might have been 
mistaken for works of art had it not been for the process of 
rumination. A crowd was assembled round a fire, before 
which a poet recited impassioned verses. I observed the 
slight forms of the men, short and meagre, agile, dry, and 
dark, with teeth dazzling white, and quick, black, glancing 
eyes. They were dressed in cloaks of coarse black cloth, 
apparently the same stuff as their tents, and few of them, I 
should imagine, exceeded five feet six inches in height. 
The women mingled with the men, although a few affected 
to conceal their faces on my approach. They were evi- 
dently deeply interested in the poetic recital. One passage 
excited their loud applause. I inquired its purport of 
Abdallah, who thus translated it to me. A lover beholds 
his mistress, her face covered with a red veil. Thus he 
addresses her ! 



850 CONTARINI FLKMTNG t 

* Oh ! WITHDRAW THAT VEIL, WITHDRAW THAT BED VEIL ! 

Let me behold the beauty that it shrouds ! Yes ! let 

THAT ROSY TWILIGHT FADE AWAY, AND LET THE FULL MOON 
RISE TO MY VISION.' 

Beautif q1 ! Yet more beautifol in the language of the 
Arabs ; for in that rich tongue, there are words to describe 
each species of twilight, and where we are obliged to have 
recourse to an epithet, the Arabs reject the feeble and 
unnecessary aid. 

It was late ere I retired, and I stretched myself on my 
mat, musing over this singular people, who combined 
primitive simplicity of habits with the refined feelings of 
civilisation, and who, in a great degree, appeared to me to 
offer an evidence of that community of property and that 
equahty of condition, which have hitherto proved the 
despair of European sages, and fed only the visions of their 
fanciful Utopias. 



CHAPTER IV. 



A Syrian village is beautiful in the centre of a fertile 
plain. The houses are isolated, and each surrounded by 
palm trees ; the meadows divided by rich plantations of 
Indian fig, and bounded by groves of olive. 

In the distance rose a chain of severe and savage moun- 
tains. I was soon wandering, and for hours, in the wild, 
stony ravines of these shaggy rocks. At lenorth, after 
several passes, I gained the ascent of a high mountain. 
Upon an opposite height, descending as a steep ravine, and 
forming, with the elevation on which I rested, a dark and 
narrow gorge, I beheld a city entirely surrounded by what 
I should have considered in Europe an old feodal wall, 
with towers and gates. The city was built upon an ascent> 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 351 

and, £rom the Leight on wHch I stood, I could discern the 
terrace and the cnpola of almost every house, and the wall 
upon the other side rising from the plain ; the ravine 
extending only on the side to which I was opposite. The 
city was in a bowl of mountains. In the front was a 
magnificent mosque, with beautiful gardens, and many 
light and lofty gates of triumph ; a variety of domes and 
towers rose in all directions from the buildings of bright 
stone. 

Nothing could be conceived more wild, and terrible, and 
desolate than the surrounding scenery, more dark, and 
stormy, and severe ; but the ground was thrown about in 
such picturesque undulations, that the mind, fall of the 
sublime, required not the beautifal ; and rich and waving 
woods and sparkling cultivation would have been mis- 
placed. Except Athens, I had never witnessed any scene 
more essentially impressive. I will not place this spectacle 
below the city of Minerva. Athens and the Holy City in 
their glory must have been the finest representations of the 
beautiful and the sublime ; the Holy City, for the elevation 
on which I stood was the Mount of Olives, and the ciiy on 
which I gazed was Jerusalem. 



CHAPTER V. 



The dark gorge beneath me was the vale of Jehoshaphat ; 
farther on was the fountain of Siloah. I entered by the 
gate of Bethlehem, and sought hospitality at the Latin 
Convent of the Terra Santa. 

Easter was approaching, and the city was crowded with 
pilgrims. I had met many caravans in my progress. The 
convents of Jerusalem are remarkable. That of the Arme- 
nian Christians at this time afforded accommodation for 



352 CONTARDJI FLEMING: 

four thousand pilgnms. It is a town of itself, and possesses 
-within its walls streets and shops. The Greek Convent 
held perhaps half as many. And the famous Latin Convent 
of the Terra Santa, endowed by all the monarchs of 
Catholic Christendom, could boast of only one pilgrim, 
myself! The Europeans have ceased to visit the Holy 
Sepulchre. 

As for the interior of Jerusalem, it is hilly and clean. 
The houses are of stone and well built, but Hke all Asiatio 
mansions, they offer nothing to the eye but blank walls and 
dull portals. The mosque I had admired was the famous 
Mosque of Omar, built upon the supposed site of the 
Temple. It is perhaps the most beautiful of Mahomedaa 
temples, but the Frank, even in the Eastern dress, will 
enter it at the risk of his life. The Turks of Syria have 
not been contaminated by the heresies of their enlightened 
Sultan. In Damascus it is impossible to appear in the 
Frank dress without being pelted; and although they 
would condescend, perhaps, at Jerusalem to permit an 
infidel dog to walk about in his national dress, he would 
not escape many a curse and many a scornful exclamation 
of * Giaour ! ' There is only one way to travel in the East 
with ease, and that is with an appearance of pomp. The 
Turks are much influenced by the exterior, and although, 
they are not mercenary, a well-dressed and well-attended 
infidel will command respect.* 



CHAPTER VL 

The church of the Holy Sepulchre is nearly in the middle 
of the city, and professedly built upon Mount Calvary, 

* The reader will be kind enough to remember that these obnerw 
tioDS were made in Syria in the year 1830. Since that period the 
Levant has undergone great yicissitndeB* 



\ 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 353 

wliich, it is alleged, was levelled for the structnre. Within 
its walls they have contrived to assemble the scenes of a 
vast number of incidents in the life of the Saviour, with a 
highly romantic violation of the unity of place. Here the 
sacred feet were anointed, there the sacred garments par- 
celled ; from the pillar of the scourging to the rent of the 
rock, all is exhibited in a succession of magical scenes. The 
truth is, the whole is an ingenious imposture of a com- 
paratively recent date, and we are indebted to that favoured 
individual, the Empress Helen, for this exceedingly clever 
creation, as well as for the discovery of the true cross. 
The learned believe, and with reason, that Calvary is at 
present, as formerly, without the walls, and that we must 
seek this celebrated elevation in the lofty hill now called 
Sion. 

The church is a spacious building, surmounted by a dome* 
Attached to it are the particular churches of the various 
Christiah sects, and many chapels and sanctuaries. Mass. 
in some part or other is constantly celebrating, and com^ 
panics of pilgrims may be observed in all directions, visits 
ing the holy places and offering their devotions. Latin 
and Armenian, and Greek friars, are everywhere moving 
about. The court is crowded with the vendors of relics 
and rosaries. The church of the Sepulchre itself is a point 
of common union, and in its bustle and lounging character 
rather reminded me of an exchange than a temple. 

One day as I was pacing up and down this celebrated 
building, in conversation with an ingenious Neapolitan 
friar, experienced in the East, my attention was attracted by 
one who, from his sumptuous dress, imposing demeanour^ 
self-satisfied air, and the coolness with which, in a Christian 
temple, he waved in his hand a rosary of Mecca, I for a 
moment considered a Moslem. * Is it customary for the 
Turks to visit this place ? ' I inquired, drawing the atten-* 
tion of my companion to the stranger^ 

AA 



354 CONTAKINI FLEMINa: 

' The stranger is not a Turk,* answered the fiiar, * though 
I fear I cannot call him a Christian. It is Marignj, a 
French traveller. Do you not know him ? I will intro- 
duce you. He is a man of distinguished science, and has 
resided some months in this city, studying Arabic/ 

We approached him, and the friar made us acquainted. 

* Salam Aleikoum ! Count. Here at least is no inquisi- 
tion. Let us enjoy ourselves. How mortifying, my good 
brother Antony, that you cannot bum me I * 

The friar smiled, and was evidently used to this raillery. 

* I hope yet to behold the Kaaba,' said Marigny ; * it is 
at least more genuine than anything we here see.' 

' Truth is not truth to the false,' said brother Antony. 

* What, you reason ! * exclaimed Marigny. ' Stick to faith 
and infallibility, my good friend Antonio. I have just heen 
viewing the rent in the rock. It is a pity, boly father, that 
I have discovered that it is against the grain.' 

* The greater the miracle,' said the friar. 

* Bravo ! you deserve to be a bishop.' 

* The church has no fear of just reasoners,' observed 
brother Antony. 

' And is confuted, I suppose, only by the unjust,' rejoined 
Marigny. 

* Man without religion is a wild beast,' remarked thefinar. 

* Which religion ? ' inquired Marigny. 

* There is only one true religion,' said brother Antony. 

* Exactly ; and in this country, Master Antony, remember 
you are an infidel.' 

' And you, they say, are a Moslem.' 

' They say wrong. I believe in no human revelation, 
because it obtrudes the mind of another man into my body, 
and must destroy morality, which can only be discoveied 
by my own intelligence,' 

* All is divine revelation,' said a stranger who joined lis. 
' Ah, Werner ! ' said Marigny, * you see we are at gup old 

contests.' 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 355 

* All is divine revelation/ repeated "Werner, *for all comes 
firom God.* 

* Bnt what do you mean by God ? ' 

* I mean the great luminous principle of existence, the 
first abnighty cause from whom we are emanations, and in 
whose essence we shall again mingle.* 

' I asked for bread, and you gave me a stone. I asked 
for a fact, and you give me a word. I cannot annex an 
idea to what you say. Until my Creator gift me with an 
intelligence that can comprehend the idea of his existence, 
I must conclude that he does not desire that I should busy 
myself about it.' 

* That idea is implanted in our breasts,' said "Werner. 
' Innate ! ' exclaimed Marigny, with a sneer. 

* And why not innate ? ' replied "Werner solemnly. * Is 
it impossible for the Great Being who created us to create 
us with a sense of his existence ? * 

' Listen to these philosophers,' said brother Antony ; * I 
never heard two of them agree. I must go to mass.' 

*Mr. "Werner and myself, Count,' said Marigny, *are 
about to smoke a pipe with Besso, a rich Hebrew merchant 
here. He is one of the finest- hearted fellows in the world, 
and generous as he is rich. Will you accompany us ? You 
will greatly honour him and find in his divan some intelli- 
gent society.' 



CHAPTER yil. 



Maeigny was a sceptic and an absolute materialist, yet he 
was influenced by noble views, for he had devoted his life 
to science, and was now, at his own charge, about to 
penetrate into the interior of ALfrica by Sennaar. "Werner 
was a German divine and a rationaHst, tauntingly de- 
scribed by his companion as a devout Christian, who did 

A A 2 



. • 



356 CONTAMNI FLEMINa: 

not believe in Cliristianitj. Tet he had resided in Palestine 
and Egypt nearly four years, studying their language and 
customs, and accumulating materials for a history of the 
miraculous creed whose miracles he explained. Both were 
men of remarkable intellectual powers, and the ablest 
champions of their respective systems. 

I accompanied these new acquaintances to the house of 
Besso, and was most hospitably received, and sumptuously 
entertained. I have seldom met with a man of more easy 
manners and a more gracious carriage than Besso, who, 
although sincere in his creed, was the least bigoted of his 
tribe. He introduced us to his visitor, his friend and cor- 
respondent, Sheriff Effendi, an Egyptian meichant, who 
fortunately spoke the lingua Franca with facility. The 
other guest was an Englishman, by name Benson, a mi8- 
sionary, and a learned, pious, and acute man. 

Such was the party in whose society I generally spent a 
portion of my day during my residence at Jerusalem : and 
I have often thought that, if the conversations to which I 
have there listened were recorded, a volume might be sent 
forth of more wit and wisdom. than is now usually met 
with. The tone of discussion was, in general, metaphysical 
and scientific, varied with speculations principally on AMcan 
travel, a subject with which Sheriff Effendi was well ac- 
quainted. In metaphysics, sharp were the contests between 
Benson, Marigny, and Werner, and on all sides ably main- 
tained. I listened to them with great interest. BesBO 
smiled, and Sheriff Effendi shrugged his shoulders. 

Understanding that this mild and intelh'gent Moslem 
was in a few days about to join the caravan over the desert 
through Graza, to Egypt, I resolved to accompany hiTn, I 
remember well that, on the eve of our departure, one of 
those metaphysical discussions arose in which Marigny 
delighted. When it terminated, he proposed that, as oar 
agreeable assembly was soon about to disperse, each of ofl 






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■CHOLOaiGAL EOMANCE. 359 



unrivaled record of ancient art, the l>ean- 
insnmmate blending of Egyptian imaginatioii 
'te, will command yonr enthosiastic gaze ; 
-ombs of Siont and the chambers of Beni- 
-s frnitfiil of interest afher the tombs of the 
'■emeterieB of Qomoii, before you are the 

[ihia, and the pyramids of Oizeh, Saocarah, 



CHAPTER IX. 



• crosses the desert and views the Kile 

:igea, clustered in groves of palm, and its 

il with that graceftil tree, will bless with 

lior of Waters.' 'Tis a rich land, and 

'\i nulk and honey. The Delta in its 

■ somewhat reminded me of Belgium. 

■'• is a rich black mud and without a 

':rad is BO uniformly flat that those who 

t descry it until within half a dozen 

■■ce creeps upon the horizon, and then 

if land that supports it. The Delta is 

. which are filled by the rising Nile. 

. and not by the absolute overflowing 

:onntry is periodically deluged. 

witty, vivacious, and susceptible and 

•■nder them miserable, anda beneficent 

iu them the most valuable subjects. 

■; some compensation for a grinding 

t, as they row along the moonlit 

II in a melodious chorus ; shouts of 

each illnmined vtllajfe ; everywhere 

if langhter and of music, and, where- 

j sainted by the dancing girls. These 



358 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

Singular fate of modern ages, that beneficent Omni- 
potence has willed that for all our knowledge we shonld be 
indebted to the most insignificant of ancient states. Our 
divine instruction is handed down to us by an Arabian 
tribe, and our profane learning flows only from the clans 
of the -^gean ! 

Where are the records of the Great Assyrian monarchy ? 
Where are the books of the Medes and Persians ? Where 
the learned, annals of the Pharaohs ? 

Fortunate Jordan ! Fortunate Ilissus ! I have waded 
through the sacred waters ; with difficulty I traced the 
scanty windings of the classic stream. Alas ! for the 
exuberant Tigris ; alas ! for the mighty Enpbrates ; alas ! 
for the mysterious Nile ! 

A river is suddenly found flowing through the wilder- 
ness ; its source is unknown. On one side are interminable 
wastes of sand ; on the other, a rocky desert and a narrow 
sea. Thus it rolls on for five hundred miles, throwing up 
on each side, to the extent of about three leagues, a soil 
fertile as a garden. Within a hundred and fifty miles of 
the sea it divides into two branches, which wind through 
an immense plain, once the granary of the world. Such is 
Egypt! 

From the cataracts of Nubia to the gardens of the Delta, 
in a course of twelve hundred miles, the banks of the Nile 
are covered at slight intervals with temples and catacombs, 
pyramids and painted chambers. The rock temples of 
Ipsambol, guarded by colossal forms, are within the roar of 
the second cataract : avenues of sphinxes lead to Derr, the 
chief town of Nubia : from Derr to the first cataract, the 
Egyptian boundary, a series of rock temples conduct to the 
beautiful and sacred buildings of Philoe : Edfou and Esneh 
are a fine preparation for the colossal splendour and the 
massy grace of ancient Thebes. 

Even after the inexhaustible curiosity and varied mag- 



\ 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 359 

nificence of this nnrivalled record of ancient art, the bean- 
tiful Dendera, consummate blending of Egyptian imagination 
and Grecian taste, will command your enthusiastic gaze ; 
and, if the catacombs of Siout and the chambers of Beni- 
hassan prove less fruitful of interest after the tombs of the 
kings and the cemeteries of Gomou, before you are the 
obelisks of Memphis, and the pyramids of Gizeh, Saccarah, 
and Dashour ! 



CHAPTER rX. 



The traveller who crosses the desert and views the Nile 
with its lively villages, clustered in groves of palm, and its 
banks entirely lined with that graceful tree, will bless with 
sincerity *the Father of Waters.* 'Tis a rich land, and 
indeed flowing with milk and honey. The Delta in its 
general appearance somewhat reminded me of Belgium. 
The soil everywhere is a rich black mud and without a 
single stone. The land is so uniformly flat that those who 
arrive by sea do not descry it until within half a dozen 
miles, when a palm tree creeps upon the horizon, and then 
you observe the line of land that supports it. The Delta is 
intersected by canals, which are filled by the rising Nile. 
It is by their medium, and not by the absolute overflowing 
of the river, that the country is periodically deluged. 

The Arabs are gay, witty, vivacious, and susceptible and 
acute. It is difficult to render them miserable, and a beneficent 
government may find in them the most valuable subjects. 
A delightful climate is some compensation for a grinding 
tyranny. Every night, as they row along the moonlit 
river, the boatmen join in a melodious chorus ; shouts of 
merriment burst from each illumined village ; everywhere 
are heard the sounds of laughter and of music, and, where- 
ever you stop, you are saluted by the dancing girls. These 



CONT, 




358 

Singular fete of mode^ 
• potence has willed that for 

iii6ebt«d to the most insicj 

divine inatruction ia Imnd 

tribe, and onr profaue lean 

of the ^gear 

Where are the recorjR of tl™ 

Where are the books of the II ■ 

the learned annala of tJie Pha, • 
Fortunate Jordan ! Fortui " 

throngh the sacred wiiters ; • * 

scanty windings of the ulass, 

exuberant Tigris ; alas ! for tht 

for the myaterions Nile ! 

A river is suddenly found So- 
nesB ; its source is unljnown. On 
wastes of sand ; on tbo othet 
sea. Thus it rolls on for five lint 
on each aide, to the extent of abi 
fertile as a garder 
the sea it divides into two branchi 
an immense plain, once the granary 
Egypt! 

Prom the cataracts of Nubia to tht 
in a course of twelve hundred miles, 
are covered at slight intervals with tei 
pyramids and painted chambers. 1 
Ipsambol, guarded by colossal forms, ai 
the second cataract : avenues of sphinx 
chief town of Nubia ; from Derr to th 
Egyptian boundary, a series of rock tern; 
beantifiil and eaered buildings of Philoe : 
are a fine preparation for the colossal t 
inaasy grace of ancient Thebes. 

Even after the ineshaustible curiosity 



1 



360 CONTAEINI FLEMING: 

are always graceful in their crafb; sometimes agreeable 
in their persons. They are gaily, even richly dressed in 
bright colours, with their hair braided Tvith pearls, and 
their necks and foreheads adorned with strings of gold 
coin. In their voluptuous dance, we at once detect the 
origin of the bolero and fandango and castanets of Spain. 

I admire much the Arab women. They are delicately 
moulded. Never have I seen such twinkling feet and such 
small hands. Their complexion is clear, and not dark; 
their features beautifully formed and sharply defined; 
their eyes liquid with passion, and bright with intelligence. 
The traveller is delighted to find himself in an oriental 
country where the women are not imprisoned and scarcely 
veiled. For a long time, I could not detect the reason why 
I was so charmed with Egyptian life. At last I recollected 
that I had recurred, after a long estrangement, to ihe 
cheerful influence of women. 



CHAPTER X. 



I FOLLOWED the course of the Nile far into Nubia, and did 
not stop until I was under the tropic of Cancer. Shortly 
after quitting Egypt, the landscape changes. It is per- 
fectly African ; mountains of burning sand, vegetation 
unnaturally vivid, groves of cocoa trees, groups of cro- 
codiles, and an ebony population in a state of nudity, 
armed with spears of reeds and shields of the hide of the 
hippopotamus and the girafle. 

The voyage back was tedious, and I was glad after so 
much wandering to settle down in Cairo. 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL EOMANCE. 361 



CHAPTER .XI. 

Caieo is situate on the base of considerable hills, whose 
origin cannot be accounted for, but which are undoubtedly- 
artificial. They are formed by the ruins and the rubbish 
of long centuries. When I witness these extraordinary 
formations, which are not uncommon in the neighbourhood 
of Eastern cities, I am impressed with the idea of the 
immense antiquity of oriental society. 

There is a charm about Cairo, and it is this, that it is a 
capital in a desert. In one moment you are in the stream 
of existence, and in another in boundless solitude, or, which 
is still mere awful, the silence of tombs. I speak of the 
sepulchres of the Mamlouk sultans without the city. They 
form what may indeed be styled a City of the Dead, an 
immense Necropolis, full of exquisite buildings, domes 
covered with fretwork, and minarets carved and moulded 
with rich and elegant fancy. To me they proved much 
more interesting than the far-famed pyramids, although 
their cones in a distance are indeed sublime, their grey 
cones soaring in the light blue sky. 

The genius that has raised the tombs of the sultans may 
also be traced in many of the mosques of the city, splendid 
specimens of Saracenic architecture. In gazing upon these 
brilliant creations, and also upon those of ancient Egypt, I 
have often been struck by the felicitous system which they 
display, of ever forming the external ornaments by in- 
scriptions. How far excelling the Grecian and Gothic 
m.ethod ! Instead of a cornice of flowers, or an entab- 
lature of unmeaning fancy, how superior to be reminded 
of the power of the Creator, or the necessity of government, 
the deeds of conquerors, or the discoveries of arts ! 




362 CONTARINI FLEMINa: 



CHAPTER XIL 

It was in these solitary rides in the Desert of Cairo, and in 
these lone wanderings amid the tombs of the Saltans, that 
I first again felt the desire of composition. My mind ap- 
peared suddenly to have returned. I became restless, 
disquieted. I found myself perpetually indulging in 
audible soliloquy, and pouring forth impassioned mono- 
logues. I was pleased with the system of oriental life, and 
the liberty in which, lA Egypt, Franks can indulge. I felt 
no inclination to return to Europe, and I determined to 
cast my lot in this pleasant and fruitful land. I had 
already spent in Cairo several months, and I now re- 
solved to make it my permanent residence, - when I 
received strange letters from my father. I style them 
strange, for there breathed throughout a tone of melan- 
choly which with him was unusual, and which perplexed 
me. He complained of ill health, and expressed a hope 
that my wanderings were drawing to a close, and that we 
might again meet. I had been nearly six years absent. 
Was it possible ? Was it indeed six years since T stood 
upon Mount Jura ? And yet in that time how much had 
happened ! How much had I seen, and felt, and learnt I 
What violent passions, what strange countries, what lively 
action, and what long meditation ! 

Strange as may have appeared my conduct to my father, 
I loved him devotedly. An indication of sentiment on his 
part ever called forth all my latent affection. It was the 
conviction, of which I could never divest myself, that he 
was one who could spare no portion of his sense for the 
softer feelings, and that his conduct to me was rather in 
accordance with the system of society than instigated br 
what I should consider the feelings of a father : it was this 
conviction that had alone permitted me so long to estrange 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 363 

myself from his hearth. But now he called me back, and 
almost in sorrow. I read his letter over and over again, 
dwelt on aU its affection and aU its suppressed grief. I 
felt an irresistible desire to hasten to him without a 
moment's delay. I longed to receive his blessing and his 
embrace. 

I quitted Cairo. The Mahmadie canal was not yet open. 
I was obhged, therefore, to sail to Rosetta. Thence I 
crossed the desert in a constant mirage, and arrived at the 
famous Alexandria. In this busy port I was not long in 
finding a ship. One was about to sail for Ajicona. I 
engaged a passage, and soon the palms and sands of Egypt 
vanished fix>m my sight. 



CHAPTER Xin. 



Our passage was tedious. The captain was afraid of 
pirates, and, alarmed in the night, suddenly changed his 
course, and made for the Barbary coast, by which we lost 
our wind. We were becalmed off Candia. I once more 
beheld Mount Ida. 

Having induced the captain to run into port, I landed 
once more on that fatal coast. The old consul and his 
&mily were still there, and received me with a kindness 
which reminded me of our first happy meeting. I slept in 
the same chamber. When I awoke in the morning the sun 
was still shining, the bright "plants still quivering in its 
beams. But the gazelle had gone, the white gazelle had 
died. And my gazelle, where was she ? 

I beheld our home, our once happy home. Spiro only 
was with me, and his family came forth with joy to greet 
him. I left them, and hastened with tremulous steps to 
the happy valley. I passed by the grove of orange trees.* 



364 CONTAHINI FLEMINa : 

My strength deserted me. I leant nearly fainting against 
a tree. At last I dared to advance a step, and look forward. 

I beheld it : yes ! I beheld it, green and verdant, and 
covered with white roses ; but I dared not approach. I 
wafted it au embrace and a blessing, and rushed to the 
shore. 

At Ancona I entered the lazaretto to perform a long 
quarantine. I instantly wrote to my father, and des- 
patched a courier to my banker at Florence. I received 
from him in a few days a packet. I opened it with a sad 
foreboding. A letter in my father's handwriting reassured 
me. I tore it open ; I read. 



CHAPTER XIV. 



*My beloved Contarini, the hand of death is upon me. 
Each day my energies decrease. I can conceal from others, 
but not from myself, my gradual but certain decay. We 
shall not meet again, my child ; I have a deep conviction 
we shall not meet again. Tet I would not die without ex- 
pressing to you my love, without yielding to feelings which 
I have too long suppressed. 

* Child of my affections ! receive my blessing. Offspring 
of my young passion ! let me press you, in imagination, to 
my lone bosom ! 

* Ah ! why are you not with me ? why is not nay hand in 
yours ? There is much to say, more than I can ever ex- 
press ; yet I must write, for I would not die without my 
son doing justice to his father. 

' As a child, you doubted my love ; as a man, in spite of 
all your struggles, I am conscious you never divested youp- 
self of the agonising idea. What is this life, this life of 
error and misconception and woe ! 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 365 

* My feeble pen trembles in my band. There is mnch 
to write, mncb, alas ! that never can be written. Wby are 
we parted ? 

' You think me cold ; yon think me callous ; you think 
mo a hollow-hearted worlding. Contarini ! recall the doubt 
and misery of your early years, and all your wild thoughts, 
and dark misgivings, and vain efforts ; recall all these, and 
behold the boyhood of your father ! 

* I, too, believed myself a poet ; I, too, aspired to eman- 
cipate my kind ; I, too, looked forward to a glorious future, 
and the dazzling vista of eternal fame. The passions of my 
heart were not less violent than yours, and not less ardent 
was my impetuous love. 

* Woe ! woe ! the father and the son have been alike 
stricken. I know all ; I know all, my child. I would have 
saved you from the bitter lot ; I alone would have borne 
the deep despair. 

' Was she fair ? Was she beautiful ? Alas ! there was 
once one as bright and as glorious ; you knew not your 
mother. 

* I can remember the day but as yesterday when I first 
gazed upon the liquid darkness of her eye. It was in that 
&btal city I will not name ; horrible Yenice ! 

* I found her surrounded by a thousand slaves ; I won 
her from amid this band ; against the efforts and opposition 
of all her family I won her. Yes ! she was my bride ; the 
beautiful daughter of this romantic land ; a land to which I 
was devoted, and for which I would have perilled my life. 
Alas ! I perilled my love I My imagination was fired by 
that wondrous and witching city. My love of freedom, my 
hatred of oppression, burned each day with a brighter and 
more vehement flame. I sighed over its past glory and 
present degradation ; and when I mingled my blood with 
the veins of the Contarini, I vowed I would revive the 
glory they had themselves xnreated. 



366 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

* Venice was at that time under the yoke of the French. 
The recollection of the republic was still fresh in men's 
minds ; the son of the last doge was my relative and 
my friend. Unhappy Manini ! thy memory demands a 
tear. 

' We conspired. Even now my blood seems to flow with 
renewed force, when I recall the excitement of our secret 
meetings in the old Palazzo Contarini, on the Grrand 
Lagune. How often has daylight on the waters reminded 
us of our long councils ! 

* We were betrayed. Timely information permitted me 
to escape. I bore away my wife. We reached Mantua in 
safety. Perhaps it was the agitation of the event and the 
flight ; since the tragedy of Candia I have sometimes 
thought it might have been a constitutional doom. But 
that fatal night : why, why recall it ? We have both alike 
suffered. No, not alike, for I had my child. 

' My child, my darling child, even now your recollection 
maintains me ; even now my cheek warms, as I repose upon 
the anticipation of your glory. 

* I will not dwell upon what I then endured. Alas ! I 
cannot leave ifc to your imagination. Tour reality has 
taught you all. I roved a madman amid the mountains of 
the Tyrol. But you were with me, my child, and I looked 
upon your mild and pensive eyes, and the wildness of my 
thoughts died away. 

' I recurred to those hopes of poetic fsime which had 
soothed the dull wretchedness of my boyhood. Alas ! no 
flame from heaven descended on my lyre. I experienced 
only mortification ; and so complete was my wretchedness, 
so desolate my life, so void of hope and cheerfulness, and 
even the prospect of that common ease which the merest 
animals require, that, had it not been for you, I would have 
freed myself from the indescribable burden of my existence. 
My hereditary estates were conflscated; xny Mends, like 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL KOMANCE. 367 

myself, were in exile. We were, in fact, destitute, and 1 
had lost all confidence in my energies. 

* Thus woe-begone, I entered Vienna, where I found a 
friend. Mingling in the artificial society of that refined city, 
those excited feelings, fed by my strange adventures and 
solitary life, subsided. I began to lose what was peculiar 
in me, and to share much that was general. Worldly feel- 
ings sprang up. Some success brought back my confidence. 
I beheved that I was not destitute of power, but had 
only mistaken its nature. It was a political age. A great 
theatre seemed before me. I had ever been ambitious. I 
directed my desires into a new channel, and I determined 
to be a statesman. 

* I had attracted the attention of the Austrian minister. 
I became his secretary. You know the rest. 

* I resolved that my child should be happy. I desired to 
save him from the misery that clouded my own youth. I 
would have preserved him from the tyranny of impetuous 
passions, and the harrowing woe that awaits an ill-regulated 
mind. I observed in him a dangerous susceptibility that 
alarmed me. I studied to prevent the indulgence of his 
feelings. I was kind, but I was calm. His imaginative 
temperament did not escape me. I perceived only hereditary 
weakness, and would have prevented hereditary woe. It 
was my aim to make him a practical man. Cohtarini, it 
was the anxiety of affection that prevented me from doing 
justice to your genius. 

* My son, could I but once press you in my arms, I should 
die happy. And even now the future supports me, and I 
feel the glory of your coming fame irradiating my tomb. 

' Why cannot we meet ? I could say so much, although 
I would say only I loved you. The pen falls from my hand, 
ihe feeble pen, that has signified nothing. Imagine what 
I would express. Cherish my memory, while you receive 
my blessing.' 



368 CONTAKINI FLEMING: 

* Let me fly, let me flj to him instantly ! ' I felt the 
horrors of imprisonment ; I wrung my hands, and stamped 
from helplessness. There was a packet. I opened it ; a 
lock of rich dark hair, whose colour was not strange to me, 
and a beautiful miniature, that seemed a portrait of my 
beloved, yet I gazed upon the countenance of my mother. 



CHAPTER XV. 

There was yet a letter from my banker which I long neg- 
lected to open. I opened it at last, and learned the death 
of my remaining parent. 

The age of tears was past ; that relief was denied me. I 
looked up to Heaven in despair. I flew to a darkened 
chamber. I buried my face in my hands ; and, lone and 
speechless, I delivered myself up for days to the silent agony 
of the past. 



Ein> OF THE SIXTH PIRT. 



369 



PAET THE SEVENTH. 



CHAPTER I. 

I LEANT against a colunm of the Temple of Castor. On one 
side was the Palace of the Cassars ; on the other, the colossal 
amphitheatre of Vespasian. Arches of triumph, the pillars 
of Pagan temples, and the domes of Christian churches rose 
around me. In the distance was the wide Gampagna, the 
Claudian Aqueduct, and the Alban Mount. 

SoHtude and silence reigned on that sacred road once 
echoing with the shouts and chariots of three hundred 
triumphs ; solitude and silence, meet companions of impe- 
rial desolation ! Where are the spoils of Egypt and of 
Carthage ? Where the golden tribute of Iberia ? Where 
the long Gbdlic trophies ? Where are the rich armour and 
massy cups of Macedon? Where are the pictures and 
statues of Corinth ? Where the libraries of Athens ? Where 
is the broken bow of Parthia ? Where the elephants of 
Pontus, and the gorgeous diadems of the Asian Kings ? 

And where is EomeP All nations rose and flourished 
only to swell her splendour, and now I stand amid her ruins. 

In such a scene what are our private griefs and petty 
sorrows ? And what is man ? I felt my nothingness. 
Life seemed flat, and duU, and trifling. I could not conceive 
that I could again become interested in its base pursuits. 
I believed that I could no longer be influenced by joy or by 
sorrow. Indifference alone remained. 

A man clambered down the steep of the Palatine. It wa» 
Winter, flushed and eager from a recent excavation^ 

B B 



A 



370 CONTARINI FLEMING ; 

* What, Count,' he exclaimed, * moralising in the Forum ! ' 

* Alas, Winter, what is life ? ' 

* An excellent thing, so long as one can discover as pretty 
a Torso as I have stumbled upon this morning.' 

* A Torso ! a maimed memorial of the past. The very 
name is melancholy.' 

* What is the past to me ? I am not dead. Yon may be. 
I exist in the present.* 

* The vanity of the present overpowers me.' 

* Pooh ! I tell you what, my fiiend, the period has arriyed 
in your life, when you must renounce meditation. Action 
is now your part. Meditation is culture. It is well to think 
until a man has discovered his genius, and developed his 
faculties, but then let him put his intelligence in motion. 
Act, act, act ; act without ceasing, and you will no longer 
talk of the vanity of life.' 

* But how am I to act?' 

' Create. Man is made to create, from the poet to the 
potter.' 



CHAPTER II. 



Mt father bequeathed me his entire property, which was 
more considerable than I imagined ; the Countess and her 
children being amply provided for by her own estate. In 
addition to this, I found that he had claimed in my favonr 
the Contarini estates, to which, independently of the validitr 
of my marriage, I was entitled through my mother. After 
much litigation, the question had been decided in my behalf 
a few months before my return to Italy. I found myseH 
therefore, unexpectedly a rich man. I wrote to the Countess, 
and received from her an affectionate reply ; nor should I 
omit that I was honoured by an autograph letter of condo- 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 871 

lenoe from the King and an invitation to re-enter his 
service. 

As I was now wearied with wandering, and desirous of 
settling down in life ; and as I had been deprived of those 
aflfections which render home delightful, I determined to 
find in the creations of art some consolation, and some 
substitute for that domestic bliss which I value above all 
other blessings. I resolved to create a paradise. I purchased 
a large estate in the vicinity of Naples, with a palace and 
beautiful gardens. I called in the assistance of the first 
artists in the country ; and I availed myself, above all, of the 
fine taste of my friend Winter. The palace was a Palladian 
pile, build upon a stately terrace covered with orange and 
citron trees, and to which you ascended by broad flights of 
marble steps. The formation of the surrounding country 
was highly picturesque, hills beautifully peaked or un- 
dulating, and richly wooded, covered with the cypress and 
the ilex, and crowned with the stone pine. Occasionally 
you caught a glimpse of the blue sea and the brilliant 
coast. 

Upon the terrace, upon each side of the portal, I have 
placed a colossal sphinx, which were excavated when I was 
at Thebes, and which I was fortunate enough to purchase. 
They are of rosecoloured granite, and as fresh and sharp as 
if they were finished yesterday. There is a soft majesty and 
a serene beauty in the countenances, which are remarkable. 

It is my intention to build in these beautiftd domains 
a Saracenic palace, which my oriental collections will befit, 
but which I hope also to fill with the masterpieces of 
Christian art. At present I have placed in a gallery some 
fine specimens of the Venetian, Roman, and Eclectic schools, 
and have ranged between them copies in marble, by 
Bertolini, of the most celebrated ancient statues. In one 
cabinet, by itself, is the gem of my collection, a Magdalen 
by Murillo ; and, in another, a sleeping Cupid, by Canova, 

B B 2 



372 CONTARINI FLEMING: 

over whicli I have contrived, by a secret light, to throw a 
rosy flush, that invests the ideal beauty of the sculptor with 
a still more ideal life. At the end of the gallery I have 
placed the portraits of my father and of my mother ; the 
latter copied by an excellent artist from the miniature. 
Between them is a &ame of richly carved ivory, enclosing 
a black velvet veil, studded with white roses worked in 
pearls. 

Around me, I hope in time to create a scene which may 
rival in beauty and variety, although not in extent, the 
villa of Hadrian, whom I have always considered the most 
sumptuous and accomplished character of antiquity. I 
have already commenced the foundation of a tower which 
shall rise at least one hundred and fifty feet, and which, I 
trust, will equal in the beauty of the design and in the 
solidity of the masonry the most celebrated works of an- 
tiquity. This tower I shall dedicate to the Future, and I 
intend that it shall be my tomb. 

Lausanne has laarried, and will never quit me. He has 
promised also to form a band of wind instruments, a solace 
necessary to solitude. Winter is my only friend and mj 
only visitor. He is a great deal with me, and has a studio 
in the palace. He is so independent, that he often arrives 
and quits it without my knowledge ; yet I never converse 
with him without pleasure. 

Here let me pass my life in the study and the creation 
of the beautiful. Such is my desire ; but whether it will 
be my career is, I feel, doubtful. My interest in the hap- 
piness of my race is too keen to permit me for a moment to 
be bliud to the storms that lour on the horizon of society. 
Perchance also the political regeneration of the country to 
which I am devoted may not be distant, and in that great 
work I am resolved to participate. Bitter jest, that the 
most civilised portion of the globe should be considered 
incapable of self-government ! 



A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROMANCE. 378 

Wlien I examine tlie state of European society with the 
unimpassioned spirit which the philosopher can alone com- 
mand, I perceive that it is in a state of transition, a state of 
transition from feodal to federal principles. This I conceive 
to be the sole and secret cause of all the convulsions that 
have occurred and are to occur. 

Circumstances are beyond the control of man ; but his 
conduct is in his own power. The great event is as sure as 
that I am now penning this prophecy of its occurrence. 
With us it rests whether it shall be welcomed by wisdom 
or by ignorance, whether its beneficent results shall be 
accelerated by enlightened minds, or retarded by our dark 
passions. 

What is the arch of the conqueror, what the laurel of the 
poet ! I think of the infinity of space, I feel my nothing- 
ness. Yet if I am to be remembered, let me be remembered 
as one who, in a sad night of gloomy ignorance and savage 
bigotry was prescient of the flaming morning-break of 
bright philosophy, as one who deeply sympathised with his 
fellow-men, and felt a proud and profound conviction of 
their perfectibility; as one who devoted himself to the 
amelioration of his kind, by the destruction of error and 
the propagation of truth. 



THE END. 



i 



THE 



EISE OF ISKANDBE. 



THE 

EISE OF ISKANDEE. 



CHAPTER L 

The snn had set behind the mouiitains, and the rich plain 
of Athens was snffiised with the violet glow of a Grecian 
eve. A light breeze rose; the olive-groves awoke from 
their noonday trance, and rustled with returning animation, 
and the pennons of the Turkish squadron, that lay at anchor 
in the harbour of Piraeus, twinkled in the lively air. From 
one gate of the city the women came forth in procession to 
the fountain ; from another, a band of sumptuous horsemen 
sallied out, and threw their wanton javelins in the invigo- 
rating sky, as they galloped over the plain. The voice of 
birds, the buzz of beauteous insects, the breath of fragrant 
flowers, the quivering note of the nightingale, the pittering 
call of the grasshopper, and the perfume of the violet, 
shrinking from the embrace of the twilight breeze, filled 
the purple air with music and with odour. 

*A solitary being stood upon the towering crag of the 
Acropolis, amid the ruins of the Temple of Minerva, and 
gazed upon the inspiring scene. Around him rose the 
matohless memorials of antique art; immortal colimins 
whose synmietry baffles modern proportion, serene Carya- 
tides, bearing with greater grace a graceful burthen, carv- 
ings of delicate precision, and friezes breathing with heroic 
life. Apparently the stranger, though habited as a Moslem, 
was not insensible to the genius of the locality, nor indeed 



378 THE BISE OF 

would his form and countenance have misbecome a contem- 
porary of Pericles and Phidias. In the prime of life, and 
far above the common stature, but with a frame the mus- 
cular power of which was even exceeded by its almost ideal 
symmetry, his high white forehead, his straight profile, his 
oval countenance, and his curling lip, exhibited the same 
visage that had inspired the sculptor of the surrounding 
demigods. 

The dress of the stranger, although gorgeous, was, how- 
ever, certainly not classic. A crimson shawl was womid 
round his head, and glittered with a trembling aigrette of 
diamonds. His vest, which set tight to his form, was of 
green velvet, richly embroidered with gold and pearls. 
Over this he wore a light jacket of crimson velvet, equally 
embroidered, and lined with sable. He wore also the fall 
white camese common among the Albanians ; and while his 
feet were protected by sandals, the lower part of his legs 
was guarded by greaves of embroidered green velvet. Prom 
a broad belt of scarlet leather peeped forth the jewelled 
hilts of a variety of dagge'rs, and by his side was an enor- 
mous scimetar, in a scabbard of chased silver. 

The stranger gazed upon the wide prospect before him 
with an air of pensive abstraction. * Beautiful Greece,' he 
exclaimed, * thou art still my country. A mournful lot is 
mine, a strange and mournful lot, yet not uncheered by 
hope. I am at least a warrior ; and this arm, though trained 
to war against thee, will not well forget, in the quick hoar 
of battle, the blood that flows within it. Themistocles saved 
Greece and died a Satrap : I am bred one, let me reverse 
our lots, and die at least a patriot.' 

At this moment the Evening Hymn to the Virgin arose 
froi^ a neighbouring convent. The stranger started as 
the sacred melody floated towards him, and taking a 
small golden cross from his heart, he kissed it with de- 



ISKANDER. 379 

votion, and then descending the steep of the citadel, entered 
the ciiy. 

He proceeded along the narrow winding streets of Athens 
nntil he at length arrived in front of a marble palace, in the 
construction of which the architect had certainly not con- 
sulted the snrronnding models which Time had spared to 
him, but which, however it might have offended a classic 
taste, presented altogether a magnificent appearance. 
Half-a-dozen guards, whose shields and helmets somewhat 
oddly contrasted with the two pieces of cannon, one of 
which was ostentatiously placed on each side of the portal, 
and which had been presented to the Prince of Athens by 
the Republic of Venice, lounged before the entrance, and 
paid their military homage to the stranger as he passed 
them. He passed them and entered a large quadrangular 
garden, surrounded by arcades, supported by a considerable 
number of thin, low pillars, of barbarous workmanship, and 
various- coloured marbles. In the midst of the garden rose 
a fountain, whence the bubbling waters flowed in artificial 
channels through vistas of orange and lemon trees. By the 
side of the fountain on a luxurious couch, his eyes fixed 
upon a richly-illuminated volume, reposed Nic86us, the 
youthful Prince of Athens. 

' Ah ! is it you ? * said the Prince, looking up with a smile, 
as the stranger advanced. * You have arrived just in time 
to remind me that we must do something more than read 
the Pers89, we must act it.' 

^ My dear Niceeus,' replied the stranger, ' I have arrived 
only to bid you farewell.* 

' Farewell ! ' exclaimed the Prince in a tone of surprise 
and sorrow ; and he rose from the couch. * Why ! what is 
this?' 

*It is too true,' said the stranger, and he led the way 
down one of the walks. * Events have occurred which 
entirely baffle all our plans and prospects, and place me in 



378 THE BISE OF 

would his form and countenance have misbecome a contem- 
porary of Pericles and Phidias. In the prime of life, and 
far above the common stature, but with a frame the mus- 
cular power of which was even exceeded by its almost ideal 
symmetry, his high white forehead, his straight profile, his 
oval countenance, and his curHng lip, exhibited the same 
visage that had inspired the sculptor of the surrounding 
demigods. 

The dress of the stranger, although gorgeous, was, how- 
ever, certainly not classic. A crimson shawl was wound 
round his head, and glittered with a trembling aigrette of 
diamonds. His vest, which set tight to his form, was of 
green velvet, richly embroidered with gold and pearls. 
Over this he wore a light jacket of crimson velvet, equally 
embroidered, and lined with sable. He wore also the full 
white camese common among the Albanians ; and while his 
feet were protected by sandals, the lower part of his legs 
was guarded by greaves of embroidered green velvet. Erom 
a broad belt of scarlet leather peeped forth the jewelled 
hilts of a variety of dagge'rs, and by his side was an enor- 
mous scimetar, in a scabbard of chased silver. 

The stranger gazed upon the wide prospect before him 
with an air of pensive abstraction. * Beautifdl Greece,' he 
exclaimed, * thou art still my country. A moumfiil lot is 
mine, a strange and mournful lot, yet not uncheered by 
hope. I am at least a warrior ; and this arm, though trained 
to war against thee, will not well forget, in the quick hoar 
of battle, the blood that flows within it. Themistocles saved 
Greece and died a Satrap : I am bred one, let me reverse 
our lots, and die at least a patriot.' 

At this moment the Evening Hymn to the Virgin arose 
froi^ a neighbouring convent. The stranger started as 
the sacred melody floated towards him, and taking a 
small golden cross from his heart, he kissed it with de- 



ISKAKDBR. 379 

votion, and then descending the steep of the citadel, entered 
the ciiy. 

He proceeded along the narrow winding streets of Athens 
until he at length arrived in front of a marble palace, in the 
constmction of which the architect had certainly not con- 
sulted the surrounding models which Time had spared to 
him, but which, however it might have offended a classic 
taste, presented altogether a magnificent appearance. 
Half-a-dozen guards, whose shields and helmets somewhat 
oddly contrasted with the two pieces of cannon, one of 
which was ostentatiously placed on each side of the portal, 
and which had been presented to the Prince of Athens by 
the Republic of Venice, lounged before the entrance, and 
paid their military homage to the stranger as he passed 
them. He passed them and entered a large quadrangular 
garden, surrounded by arcades, supported by a considerable 
number of thin, low pillars, of barbarous workmanship, and 
various-coloured marbles. In the midst of the garden rose 
a fountain, whence the bubbling waters flowed in artificial 
channels through vistas of orange and lemon trees. By the 
side of the fountain on a luxurious couch, his eyes fixed 
upon a richly-illuminated volume, reposed Nicceus, the 
youthful Prince of Athens. 

* Ah ! is it you ? * said the Prince, looking up with a smile, 
as the stranger advanced. * You have arrived just in time 
to remind me that we must do something more than read 
the Pers89, we must act it.' 

* My dear Niceeus,' replied the stranger, * I have arrived 
only to bid you farewell.' 

* Farewell ! ' exclaimed the Prince in a tone of surprise 
and sorrow ; and he rose from the couch. ' Why ! what is 
this?' 

'It is too true,' said the stranger, and he led the way 
down one of the walks. * Events have occurred which 
entirely baffle all our plans and prospects, and place me in 



380 THE RISE OF 

a position as difficult as it is harrowing. Hnnniades lias 
suddenly crossed the Danube in great force, and carried 
everytHng before him. I am ordered to proceed to Al- 
bania instantly, and to repair to the camp at the head of the 
Epirots.' 

* Indeed ! ' said NicaBns, with a thonghfal air. ' My letters 
did not prepare me for this. 'Tis sudden ! Is Amurath 
himself in the field?' 

* No ; Karam Bey commands. I have accounted for my 
delay to the Sultan by pretended difficulties in our treaty, 
and have held out the prospect of a larger tribute.' 

* When we are plotting that that tribute should be paid 
no longer ! ' added Nicaeus, with a smile. 

* Alas ! my dear friend,' replied the Turkish commander, 
* my situation has now become critical. Hitherto my ser- 
vices for the Moslemin have been confined to actinsr asrainst 
nations of their own faith. I am now suddenly summoned 
to combat against my secret creed, and the best allies of 
what I must yet call my secret country. The movement, it 
appears to me, must be made now or never, and I cannot 
conceal from myself, that it never could have been prose- 
cuted under less auspicious circumstances.' 

* What, you desponding ! ' exclaimed Nicaeus ; * then I 
must despair. Your sanguine temper has alone supported 
me throughout all our dangerous hopes.' 

* And j^schylus? ' said the stranger, smiling. 

* And JEschylus, certainly,' replied NicsBus ; * but I have 
lived to find even JEschylus insipid. I pant for action.' 

*It may be nearer than we can foresee,' replied the 
stranger. 'There is a God who fashions all things. He 
will not desert a righteous cause. He knoweth that my 
thoughts are as pure as my situation is difficult. I have 
some dim ideas still brooding in my mind, but we will not 
discuss them now. I must away, dear Prince. The breeze 
serves fairly. Have you ever seen Hnnniades ? 



ISKANDER. 381 

* I was educated at the Court of Transylvania,' replied 
Nic89us, looking down with a somewhat embarrassed air. 
' He is a famous knight, Christendom's chief bulwark.' 

The Turkish commander sighed. ' When we meet again,* 
he said, * may we meet with brighter hopes and more buoy- 
ant spirits. At present, I must, indeed, say farewell.' 

The Prince turned with a dejected countenance, and 
pressed his companion to his heart. ' 'Tis a sad end,' said 
he, * to all our happy hours and lofty plans.' 

* You are as yet too young to quarrel with Fortune,' re- 
plied the stranger, * and for myself, I have not yet settled 
my accounts with her. However, for the present, farewell, 
dear Niceeus ! ' 

* Farewell,' replied the Prince of Athens, 'farewell, dear 
Iskander ! ' 



CHAPTER n. 



Iskander was the youngest son of the Prince of Epirus, 
who, with the other Grecian princes, had, at the commence- 
ment of the reign of Amurath the Second, in vain resisted 
the progress of the Turkish arms in Europe. The Prince 
of Epirus had obtained peace by yielding his four sons as 
hostages to the Turkish sovereign, who engaged that they 
should be educated in all the accomplishments of their rank, 
and with a due deference to their faith. On the death of 
the Prince of Epirus, however, Amurath could not resist 
the opportunity that then offered itself of adding to his 
empire the rich principality he had long coveted. A Turk- 
ish force instantly marched into Epirus, and seized upon 
Croia, the capital city, and the children of its late ruler 
were doomed to death. The beauty, talents, and valour of 
the youngest son, saved him, however, from the fate of his 
poisoned brothers. Iskander was educated at Adrianople* 



382 THE RISE OE 

in the Moslem faith, and as he, at a veiy early age, excelled 
in feats of arms all the Moslemin warriors, he became a 
prime favourite of the Sultan, and speedily rose in his ser- 
vice to the highest rank. 

At this period the irresistible progress of the Tnrkisli 
arms was the subject of alarm throughout all ChristendonL 

Constantinople, then the capital of the Ghreek Empire, had 
already been more than once besieged by the predecessors 
of Amtirath, and had only been preserved by fortunate acci- 
dents and humiliating terms. The despots of Bosnia, Servia» 
and Bulgaria, and the Grecian princes of Etolia, Macedon, 
Epirus, Athens, Phocis, Boeotia, and indeed of all the re- 
gions to the straits of Corinth, were tributaries to Amuratb, 
and the rest of Europe was only preserved from his grasp 
by the valour of the Hungarians and the Poles, whom a for- 
tunate alliance had now united under the sovereignty of 
Uladislaus, who, incited by the pious eloquence of the car- 
dinal of St. Angelo, the legate of the Pope, and, yielding to 
the tears and supplications of the despot of Servia, had, at 
the time our story opens, quitted Buda, at the head of a 
large army, crossed the Danube, and, joining his valiant 
viceroy, the famous John Hunniades, vaivode of Transyl- 
vania, defeated the Turks with great slaughter, relieved 
Bulgaria, and pushed on to the base of Mount HaBmus, 
known in modem times as the celebrated Balkan. Here 
the Turkish general, Karam Bey, awaited the Christians, 
and hither to his assistance was Iskander commanded to 
repair at the head of a body of janissaries, who had accom- 
panied him to Greece, and the tributary Epirots. 

Had Iskander been influenced by vulgar ambition, his 
loftiest desires might have been fully gratified by the career 
which Amurath projected for him. The Turkish Sultan 
destined for the Grecian Prince the hand of one of his 
daughters, and the principal command of his armies. He 
lavished upon him the highest dignities and boimdleflS 



ISKANDER. 383 

"wiealth ; and, whether it arose from a feeling of remorse, or 
of affection for a -warrior whose unexampled vaJonr and nn- 
rivalled skiU had already added, some of the finest provinces 
of Asia to his rule, it is certain that Iskander might have 
exercised over Amnrath a far greater degree of influence 
than was enjoyed by any other of his courtiers. But the 
heart of Iskander responded with no sympathy to these 
flattering favours. His Turkish education could never 
eradicate from his memory the consciousness that he was a 
Greek; and although he was brought up in the Moslem 
faith, he had, at an early period of his career, secretly re- 
curred to the creed of his Christian fathers. He beheld in 
Amurath the murderer of his dearest kinsmen, and the 
oppressor of his country ; and although a certain calmness 
of temper, and coolness of judgment, which early developed 
themselves in his character, prevented him from ever giving 
any indication of his secret feelings, Iskander had long me- 
ditated on the exalted duty of freeing his country. • 

Dispatched to Greece, to arrange the tributes and the 
treaties of the Grecian princes, Iskander became acquainted 
with the young NicsBus ; and their acquaintance soon ma- 
tured into friendship. Nicaeus was inexperienced; but 
nature had not intended him for action. The young Prince 
of Athens would loll by the side of a fountain, and dream 
of the wonders of old days. Surrounded by his eunuchs, 
his priests, and his courtiers, he envied Leonidas, and would 
have emulated Themistocles. He was passionately devoted 
to the ancient literature of his country, and had the good 
taste, rare at that time, to prefer Demosthenes and Lysias 
to Chrysostom and Gregory, and the choruses of the Grecian 
theatre to the hymns of the Greek church. The sustained 
energy and noble simplicity of the character of Iskander, 
seemed to recall to the young prince the classic heroes over 
whom he was so often musing, while the enthusiam and 
fancy of Niceeus, and all that apparent weakness of wiU, 



384 THE BISE OF 

and those quick vicissitudes of emotion, to which men of a 
fine susceptibility are subject, equally engaged the sympathy 
of the more vigorous and constant and experienced mind of 
his companion. 

To Nic89us, Iskander had, for the first time in his life, 
confided much of his secret heart ; and the young Prince 
fired at the inspiring tale. Often they consulted over the 
fortunes of their country, and, excited by their mutual in- 
vention, at length even dared to hope that they might effect 
its dehverance, when Iskander was summoned to the army. 
It was a mournful parting. Both of them felt that the last 
few months of their lives had owed many charms to their 
companionship. The parting of friends, united by sympa- 
thetic tastes, is always painful; and friends, unless this 
sympathy subsist, had much better never meet. Iskander 
stepped into the ship, sorrowful, but serene ; l^icsBus re- 
turned to his palace moody and fretful ; lost his temper 
with his courtiers, and, when he was alone, even shed tears. 



CHAPTER ni. 



Theeb weeks had elapsed since the parting of Iskander and 
Nicseus, when the former, at the head of ten thousand men, 
entered by a circuitous route the defiles of Mount Haemns, 
and approached the Turkish camp, which had been pitched 
upon a vast and elevated table-ground, commanded on all 
sides by superior heights, which, however, were fortified and 
well-garrisoned by janissaries. The Epirots halted, and 
immediately prepared to raise their tents, while their com- 
mander, attended by a few of his officers, instantly pro- 
ceeded to the pavilion of Karam Bey. 

The arrival of Iskander diffused great joy among the sol- 
diery ; and as he passed through the encampment, the ex- 



ISKANDER. 385 

clamations of the Turkish warriors announced how ready 
they were to be led to the charge by a chieftain who had 
been ever successful. A guard of honour, by the orders of 
Karam Bey, advanced to conduct Iskander to his presence ; 
and soon, entering the pavilion, the Grecian prince ex- 
changed courtesies with the Turkish general. After the 
formal compliments had passed, Karam Bey waved his hand, 
and the pavilion was cleared, with the exception of Mousa, 
the chief secretary, and favourite of Karam. 

* You have arrived in good time, Iskander, to assist in the 
destruction of the Christian dogs,' said the Bey. * Flushed 
with their accursed success, they have advanced too far. 
Twice they have endeavoured to penetrate the mountains ; 
and each time they have been forced to retire, with great 
loss. The passages are well barricadoed with timber and 
huge fi^gments of rock. The dogs have lost all heart, 
and ai*e sinking under the joint sufferings of hunger and 
cold. Our scouts tell me they exhibit symptoms of retreat. 
We must rush down from the mountains, and annihilate 
them.' 

* Is Hunniades here in person ? ' inquired Iskander. 

' He is here,' replied Karam, * in person ; the dog of dogs ! 
Come, Iskander, his head would be a fine Bamadan present 
to Amurath. 'Tis a head worth three tails, I guess.' 

Mousa, the chief secretary, indulged in some suppressed 
laughter at this joke. Iskander smiled. 

' If they retreat we must assuredly attack them,' observed 
Iskander, musingly. * I have a persuasion that Hunniades 
and myself will soon meet.* 

' If there be truth in the Prophet ! * exclaimed E[aram. 
* I have no doubt of it. Hunniades is reserved for you^ Bey. 
We shall hold up our heads at court yet, Iskander. You 
have had letters lately ? ' 

* Some slight words.' 

* No mention of us, of course ?' 

C 



886 THE BISE OF 

' Nothing, except some passing praise of your yalonr and 
discretion.' 

* We do our l)est, we do our best. Will Isa Bey have 
^tolia, think you P ' 

* I have no thoughts. Our royal father will not forget 
liis children, and Isa Bey is a most Yaliant chieftain.' 

' You heard not that he was coming liere ? ' inquired 
IKaram. 

* Have you P ' responded the cautious Iskander. 

^ A rumour, a rumour,' replied Karam. ' He is at Adm- 
tnople, think you? ' 

^It may be so : I am, you know, from Athens.' 

^ True, true. We shall beat them, Iskander, we shall 
beat them.' 

'For myself, I feel sanguine,' replied the Prince, and he 
arose to retire. ' I must at present to my men. We must 
ascertain more accurately the movements of the Christiaiu 
before we decide on our own. I am 'incUned myself to re- 
connoitre them. How fiar may it be P ' 

* There is not room to form our array between them and 
the mountains,' replied Karam. 

* 'Tis well. Success attend the true believers ! Sj to- 
morrow's dawn we shall know more.' 



CHAPTER IV. 



ISEANDEB returned to his men. Kight was -coming on. 
Fires and lights blazed and sparkled in every direction. 
The air was clear, but very cold. He entered his tent, .and 
rmuffling himself up in his pelisse of sables, he mounted hif 
'h(»ree, and declining any attendance, rode for some little 
distance, until he had escaped from the precincts of the 
ccamp. Then he turned his iiorse towuds one d the 



ISKANDER. 3ft7 

wildest passes of the monntain, and ^^Iloping at great 
speed, never stopped nntil lie had gained ji considerable 
ascent. The track became si<eep and ragged. The masses 
of loose stone rendered ];ds progress «low ; bnt his Anatolian 
charger stiU bore him ^t intervals bravely, and in three 
hoars' time he had gained the sammjit of l^onnt Hasmns. 
A brilHant moon flooded the broad plains of Bulgaria with 
shadowy Hght. At the base of the mountainous range, 
the red watch-fires denoted the situation of the Christian 
camp. 

Iskander proceeded down the descent with an audacious 
rapidity ; but his ;charger was thorough-bred, and his mo- 
ments were golden. Ere midni^t, he had reached the 
outposts of the ,ez%emy, and was challenged by a sentinel. 

* Who goes there ? ' 

* A firiend to Ohristendoxn.' 

* The word ? ' 

' I have it not ; nay, ealmly. I am alone, but I am not 
unarmed. I do not know the word. I come from a far 
country, and bear important tidings to the great Hun- 
niades ; conduct n^ to that chief.' 

'May I be crucified if I will,' responded the sentinel, 
* before I know who and what you are. Come, keep off, 
unless ypu wish to try the effect of a PoHsh lance,' con- 
tinued the sentinel ; * 'tis something, I assure you, not less 
awkward than your Gbeek fire, if Greek indeed you be.' 

' My Mend, you are a fool,' said Iskande^, ' Wt time is 
too precious to argue any longer.' So saying, the Turkish 
commander dismounted, and taking up the brawny sentinel 
in his arms with the greatest ease, threw him over his 
shoulder, and threatening the astounded soldier with in- 
stant death if he struggled, covered him with his pelisse, 
and entered the camp. 

They approached a wafcch-fii^e, around which several 

soldiers w^ere warmjbig .themselves. 

cc2 



388 THE RISE OF 

* Who goes there ? ' inquired a second sentineL 
' A friend to Christendom,' answered Iskander. 

* The word ? ' 
Iskander hesitated. 

* The word, or I'll let flj,' said the sentinel, eleyatiiig lis 
cross bow. 

'The Bridge of Bnda,' instantly replied the terrified 
prisoner beneath the pelisse of Iskander. 

* Why did yon not answer before, then ? ' said one of the 
guards. 

*And why do you mock us by changing your voice?' 
said another. * Come, get on with you, and no more jokes.' 

Iskander proceeded tlirough a street of tents, in some of 
which were lights, but all of which were silent. At length, 
he met the esquire of a Polish knight returning from a 
convivial meeting, not a Httle elevated. 

' Who are you ? ' inquired Iskander. 

* I am an esquire,' replied the gentleman. 

' A shrewd man, I doubt not, who would make his fo^ 
tune,' replied Iskander. *You must know great things 
have happened. Being on guard I have taken a prisoner, 
who has deep secrets to divulge to the Lord Hunniades. 
Thither, to his pavilion, I am now bearing him. But he is 
a stout barbarian, and almost too much for me. Assist me 
in carrying him to the pavilion of Hunniades, and yoa 
shall have all the reward, and half the fame.' 

* You are a very civil spoken young gentleman,' said the 
esquire, *I think I know your voice. Your name, if I 
mistake not, is Leckinski P ' 

* A relative. We had a common ancestor.' 

'I thought so. I know the Leckinskies ever by their 
voice. I am free to help you on the terms yon mentioD, 
all the reward and half the fstme. 'Tis a strong bar- 
barian, is it ? We cannot cut his throat, or it will not 
divulge. All the reward and half the fame ! I will be a 



ISKANDEB. 389 

knight to-morrow. It seems a sort of fish, and has a 
smell.' 

The esquire seized the shoulders of the prisoner, who 
would have spoken had he not been terrified hj the threats 
of Iskander, who, carrying the legs of the sentinel, allowed 
the Polish gentleman to lead the way to the pavilion of 
Hunniades. Thither they soon arrived; and Iskander, 
dropping his burthen, and leaving the prisoner without to 
the charge of his assistant, entered the pavilion of the 
General of the Hungarians. 

He was stopped in a small outer apartment by an officer, 
who inquired his purpose, and to whom he repeated his 
desire to see the Hungarian leader, without loss of time, 
on important business. The officer hesitated; but, sum- 
moning several guards, left Iskander in their custody, and, 
stepping behind a curtain, disappeared. Iskander heard 
voices, but could distinguish no words. Soon the officer 
returned, and, ordering the guards to disarm and search 
Iskander, directed the Grecian Prince to follow him. 
Drawing aside the curtain, Iskander and his attendant 
entered a low apartment of considerable size. It was hung 
with skins. A variety of armour and dresses were piled 
on couches. A middle-aged man, of majestic appearance, 
muffled in a pelisse of ftirs, with long chestnut hair, and a 
cap of crimson velvet and ermine, was walking up and down 
the apartment, and dictating some instructions to a person 
who was kneeling on the ground, and writing by the bright 
flame of a brazen lamp. The bright flame or the blazing 
lamp fell fall upon the face of the secretary. Iskander 
beheld a moert beautiM woman. 

She looked up as Iskander entered. Her large dark 
eyes glanced through his soul. Her raven hair descended 
to her shoulders in many curls on each side of her face^ 
and was braided with strings of immense pearls. A broad 
cap of white fox-skin crowned her whiter forehead. Her 



886 THE EISE OF 

' Nothing, except some passing praise of your yalonr and 
^cretion.' 

* We do our l)est, we do otff best. Will Isa Bey have 
^tolia, think you ? * 

' I have no thoughts. Our royal father will not forget 
liis children, and Isa Bey is a most valiant chieftain.' 

' You heard not that he was coming liere ? ' inquired 
Karam. 

' Have you P ' responded the cautious Iskander. 

^ A rumour, a rumour,' replied Karam. ' He is at Adria- 
tnople, think you? ' 

^It may be so : I am, you know, from Athens.' 

^ True, true. We shall beat them, Iskander, we shall 
'beat them.' 

*Por myself, I feel sanguine,' replied the Prince, and he 
arose to retire. ' I must at present to my men. We must 
ascertain more accurately the movements of the Christdaiu 
before we decide on our own. I am ^cUned myself to re- 
connoitre them. How fiar may it be ? ' 

* There is not room to form our array between them and 
the mountains,' replied Karam. 

* 'Tis well. Success attend the true believers ! By to- 
morrow's dawn we shall know more.' 



CHAPTER TV. 



Iskander returned to his men. Night was coming on. 
Fires and lights blazed and sparkled in every direction. 
The air was clear, but very cold. He entered his tent,i0d 
^muffling himself up in his pelisse of sables, he mounted hit 
ahorse, and declining any attendance, rode for some little 
distance, until he had escaped from the precincts of the 
^camp. Then he turned his horse towards one df the 



ISKAJmER. 3ft7 

wildest passes of the momitaiii, and ^^Uoping at great 
speed, never stopped until he had gained .a considerable 
ascent. The track became si<eep and ragged. The masses 
of loose stone rendered his progress «low ; but his Anatolian 
charger stiU bore him *t intervals bravely, and in three 
hours' time he had .gained the sunmiit of lijount Hasmus. 
A brilHant moon flooded the broad plaias of Bulgaria with 
shadowy light. At the base of the mountainous range, 
the red watch-fires denoted the situation of the Christian 
camp. 

Iskander proceeded down the descent with an audacious 
rapidity ; but his ;charger was thorough-bred, and his mo- 
ments were golden. Ere midni^t, he had reached the 
outposts of the .ezvemy, and was challenged by a sentinel. 

* Who goes there ? ' 

* A firiend to Christendoxu.' 
« The word ? ' 

' I have it not ; nay^ calmly. I am alone, but I am not 
unarmed. I do not know the word. I come from a far 
country, and bear knportant tidings to the great Hun- 
niades ; conduct w^ to that chief.' 

* May I be crucified if I will,' responded the sentinel, 
* before I know who and what you are. Come, keep off, 
unless you wish to try the effect of a Polish laAce,' con- 
tinued the sentinel ; ^ 'tis something, I assure you, not less 
awkward than your Greek fire, if Greek indeed you be.' 

* My Mend, you are a fool,' said Iskandep, * but time is 
too precious to argue any longer.' So saying, the Turkish 
commander dismounted, and taking up the brawny sentinel 
in his arms with the greatest ease, threw him over his 
shoulder, and threatening the astounded soldier with in- 
stant death if he struggled, xioyeo^d him with his pelisse, 
and entered the camp. 

They approached a waAch^fii^e, around which several 

soldiers WcCre warmjmg .themselves. 

cc2 



388 THE RISE OF 

* Who goes there ? ' inquired a second sentineL 
' A fiiend to Christendom,' answered Iskander. 

* The word ? ' 
Iskander hesitated. 

* The word, or I'll let fly,' said the sentinel, elevatiiig Lis 
cross bow. 

*The Bridge of Buda,' instantly replied the terrified 
prisoner beneath the pelisse of Iskander. 

* Why did yon not answer before, then ? ' said one of the 
guards. 

*And why do you mock us by changing your voice?* 
said another. * Come, get on with you, and no more jokes/ 

Iskander proceeded tlirough a street of tents, in some of 
which were Hghts, but all of which were silent. At length, 
he met the esquire of a Polish knight returning from a 
convivial meeting, not a little elevated. 

* Who are you ? ' inquired Iskander. 

' I am an esquire,' replied the gentleman. 

* A shrewd man, I doubt not, who would make his for- 
tune,' replied Iskander. *You must know great things 
have happened. Being on guard I have taken a prisoner, 
who has deep secrets to divulge to the Lord Hunniades. 
Thither, to his pavilion, I am now bearing him. But he is 
a stout barbarian, and almost too much for me. Assist me 
in carrying him to the pavilion of Hunniades, and yoa 
shall have all the reward, and half the fame.' 

* You are a very civil spoken young gentleman,' said the 
esquire. *I think I know your voice. Your name, if I 
mistake not, is Leckinski P ' 

* A relative. We had a common ancestor.' 

'I thought so. I know the Leckinskies ever by their 
voice. I am free to help you on the terms you mentioo, 
all the reward and half the fame. 'Tis a strong l)•^ 
barian, is it ? We cannot cut his throat, or it will not 
divulge. All the reward and half the fame ! I wiU be ft 



ISKANDEB. 389 

knight to-morrow. It seems a sort of fish, and has a 
smell.' 

The esquire seized the shoulders of the prisoner, who 
would have spoken had he not been terrified hj the threats 
of Iskander, who, carrying the legs of the sentinel, allowed 
the Polish gentleman to lead the way to the pavilion of 
Hunniades. Thither they soon arrived; and Iskander, 
dropping his burthen, and leaving the prisoner without to 
the charge of his assistant, entered the pavilion of the 
General of the Hungarians. 

He was stopped in a small outer apartment by an ofl&cer, 
who inquired his purpose, and to whom he repeated his 
desire to see the Hungarian leader, without loss of time, 
on important business. The officer hesitated; but, sum- 
moning several guards, left Iskander in their custody, and, 
stepping behind a curtain, disappeared. Iskander heard 
voices, but could distinguish no words. Soon the officer 
returned, and, ordering the guards to disarm and search 
Iskander, directed the Grecian Prince to follow him. 
Drawing aside the curtain, Iskander and his attendant 
entered a low apartment of considerable size. It was hung 
with skins. A variety of armour and dresses were piled 
on couches. A middle-aged man, of majestic appearance, 
muffled in a pelisse of ftirs, with long chestnut hair, and a 
cap of crimson velvet and ermine, was walking up and down 
the apartment, and dictating some instructions to a person 
who was kneeling on the ground, and writing by the bright 
flame of a brazen lamp. The bright flame or the blazing 
lamp fell full upon the face of the secretary. Iskander 
beheld a most beautiful woman. 

She looked up as Iskander entered. Her large dark 
eyes glanced through his soul. Her raven hair descended 
to her shoulders in many curls on each side of her face^ 
and was braided with strings of immense pearls. A broad 
cap of white fox-skin crowned her whiter forehead. Her 



390 THE BISE OF 

featnres were very small, but sharply moulded, and a deli- 
cate tint gave animation to her clear fair cheek. She 
looked np as Iskander entered^ with an air rather of 
cnriosity than embarrassment. 

Hnnniades stopped, and examined his visitor with » 
searching inquisition. ' Whence come yoa P ' inquired the 
Hungarian chieftain. 

' From the Turkish camp,* was the answer. 

* An envoy or a deserter ? * 

* Neither.' 
•What then?* 

* A convert.* 

* Your name?' 

'Lord Hunniades,' said Iskander, ^that is for yonr 
private ear. I am unarmed, and were I otherwise, the 
first knight of Christendom can scarcely fear. I am 
one in birth and rank your equal ; if not in fiune, at 
least, I trust, in honour. My time is all precious : I can 
scarcely stay here while my horse bi!«athes. Dismiss your 
attendant.* 

Hunniades darted a glance at his visitor which would 
have baffled a weaker brain, but Iskander stood the sera- 
tiny calm and tdidisturbed. * Go, Stanislaus, * said the 
Vaivode to the officer. 'This lady, sir,' continued the 
chieftain, ' is my daughter, aaid one from whom I have no 
secrets.' 

Iskander J)o wed lowly as the officer disappeared. 

*And now,' said Hunniades, *to business. Your piu^- 
pose ? ' 

' I am a Grecian Prince, and a compulsory ally of the 
Moslemin. In a word, my purpose here is to arrange a phin 
by which we may eflfect, at the same time, your triumph, 
and my freedom.' 

*To whom, then, have I the honour of speaking?' in- 
quired Hunniades. 



ISKANDEB. 391 

' Mj name, great Himiiiades, is perliap^ not altogether 
unknown to yon : they call me Iskander.' 

*What, the right arm of Amnrath,. the* conqueror of 
Caramania, the flower of Turkish chivalry ? Db I indeed 
behold that matchless warrior?' exclaimed Bnnniades, 
and he held forth his hand to his guest, and nngirding 
his own sword, offered it to the Prince. ' Iduna,' con- 
tinned Hmmiades, to his daughter, * you at length behold 
Iskander.' 

* My joy is great, sir,' replied Iduna, * if I indeed rightly 
understand that we may count the Prince Iskander a 
champion of the Cross.' 

Iskander took from his heart his golden crucifix, and 
kissed it before her. ' This has been my companion and 
consolation for long years, lady,' said Iskander; *you, 
perhaps, know my nioumful history, Hunniades. Hitherto 
my pretended sovereign has not required me to bare my 
scimitar against my Christian brethren. That hour, how- 
ever, has at length arrived, and it has decided me to adopt 
a line of conduct long meditated. Karam Bey, who is 
aware of your necessities, the moment you commence your 
retreat, will attack you. I shall command his lefb wing. 
In spite of his superior power and position, draw up in 
array, and meet him with confidence. I propose, at a con- 
venient moment in the day, to withdraw my troops, and 
with the Epirots hasten to my native country, and at once 
raise the standard of independence. It is a bold measure, 
but Success is the child of Audacity. We must assist 
each other with mutual diversions. Single-handed it is in 
vain for me to commence a struggle, which, with all adven- 
titious advantages, will require the utmost exertion of 
energy, skill, and patience. But if yourself and the King 
Uladislaus occupy the armies of Amurath in Bulgaria, I 
am not without hope of ultimate success, since I have to 
inspire me all the most urgent interests of humanity, and 



392 THE RISE OF 

combat, at the same time, for my God, my conntry, and 
my lawful crown.' 

' Brave Prince, I pledge yon my troth,* said Hnnniades, 
coming forward and seizing his hand ; 'and while Iskander 
and Hnnniades live, they will never cease until they have 
achieved their great and holy end.' 

'It is a solemn compact,' said Iskander, 'more sacred 
than if registered by all the scribes of Christendom. Lady 
Idnna, your prayers ! ' 

* They are ever with the champions of the Cross, ''replied 
the daughter of Hnnniades. She rose, the large cloak in 
which she was enveloped fell from her exquisite form. 

* Noble Iskander, this rosary is from the Holy Sepulchre,' 
continued Iduna ; ' wear it for the sake and memory of that 
blessed Saviour who died for our sins.' 

Iskander held forth his arm and touched her delicate 
hand as he received the rosary, which, pressing to his lips, 
he placed round his neck. 

'Great Hnnniades,' said the Grecian Prince, *I must 
cross the mountains before dawn. Let me venture to en- 
treat that we should hear to-morrow that the Christian 
camp is in retreat.' 

* Let it even be so,' said the Hungarian, after some thought, 

* and may to-morrow's sun bring brighter days to Christen- 
dom.' And with these words terminated the brief and 
extraordinary visit of Iskander to the Christian general. 



CHAPTER V. 



The intelligence of the breaking up of the Christian camp, 
and the retreat of the Christian army, soon reached the 
Divan of Karam Bey, who immediately summoned Iskander 
to consult on the necessary operations. The chieftains agreed 



ISKANDEE. 393 

that instant ptLrsnit was indispensable, and soon the savage 
HsBmns poured forth from its green bosom swarms of that 
light cavalry which was perhaps even a more fatal arm of 
the Turkish power than the famons Janissaries themselves. 
They hovered on the rear of the retreating Christians, 
charged the wavering, captnred the nnwary. It was im- 
possible to resist their sndden and impetuous movements, 
which rendered their escape as secure as their onset was 
overwhelming. Wearied at length by the repeated assaxdts, 
Hunniades, who, attended by some chosen knights, had 
himself repaired to the rear, gave orders for the army to 
halt and offer battle. 

Their pursuers instantly withdrew to a distance, and 
gradually forming into two divisions, awaited the arrival of 
the advancing army of the Turks. The Moslemin came 
forward in fierce array, and with the sanguine courage in- 
spired by expected triumph. Very conspicuous was Iskan- 
der bounding in his crimson vest upon his ebon steed, and 
waving his gleaming scimetar. 

The Janissaries charged, calling upon Allah! with an 
awful shout. The Christian knights, invoking the Christian 
saints, received the Turks at the points of their lances. 
But many a noble lance was shivered that morn, and many 
a bold rider and worthy steed bit the dust of that field, 
borne down by the irresistible nifinbers of their fierce ad- 
versaries. Everywhere the balls and the arrows whistled 
through the air, and sometimes an isolated shriek heard 
amid the general clang, announced another victim to the fell 
and mysterious agency of the Gh:'eek fire. 

Hunniades, while he performed all the feats of an ap- 
proved warrior, watched with anxiety the disposition of 
th# Turkish troops. Hitherto, from the nature of their 
position but a portion of both armies had interfered in the 
contest, and as yet Iskander had kept aloof. But now, as 
the battle each instant raged with more fury, and as it was 



388 THE RISE OF 

' Wlio goes there ? ' inquired a second sentinel. 

* A friend to Christendom,' answered Iskander. 

* The word ? ' 
Iskander hesitated. 

' The word, or I'll let fly,' said the sentinel, elevating his 
cross bow. 

*The Bridge of Buda,' instantly replied the terrified 
prisoner beneath the pelisse of Iskander. 

* Why did you not answer before, then ? ' said one of the 
guards. 

*And why do you mock us by changing your voice?* 
said another. * Come, get on with you, and no more jokes.' 

Iskander proceeded through a street of tents, in some of 
which were Hghts, but all of which were silent. At length, 
he met the esquire of a Polish knight returning from a 
convivial meeting, not a little elevated. 

* Who are you ? ' inquired Iskander. 

' I am an esquire,* replied the gentleman. 

* A shrewd man, I doubt not, who would make his for- 
tune,' replied Iskander. *You must know great things 
have happened. Being on guard I have taken a prisoner, 
who has deep secrets to divulge to the Lord Hunniades. 
Thither, to his pavilion, I am now bearing him. But he is 
a stout barbarian, and almost too much for me. Assist me 
in carrying him to the pavilion of Hunniades, and you 
shall have all the reward, and half the fame.' 

' You are a very civil spoken young gentleman,' said the 
esquire. *I think I know your voice. Your name, if I 
mistake not, is LeckinsH ? ' 

* A relative. We had a common ancestor.' 

*I thought so. I know the LeckinsHes ever by their 
voice. I am free to help you on the terms you mention, 
all the reward and half the fame. 'Tis a strong btr- 
barian, is it ? We cannot cut his throat, or it will not 
divulge. All the reward and half the fame ! I will be a 



ISKANDER. 389 

knight to-morrow. It seems a sort of fish, and has a 
smell.' 

The esquire seized the shoulders of the prisoner, who 
would have spoken had he not been terrified by the threats 
of Iskander, who, carrying the legs of the sentinel, allowed 
the Polish gentleman to lead the way to the pavilion of 
Hunniades. Thither they soon arrived; and Iskander, 
dropping his burthen, and leaving the prisoner without to 
the charge of his assistant, entered the pavilion of the 
General of the Hungarians. 

He was stopped in a small outer apartment by an officer, 
who inquired his purpose, and to whom he repeated his 
desire to see the Hungarian leader, without loss of time, 
on important business. The officer hesitated; but, sum- 
moning several guards, left Iskander in their custody, and, 
stepping behind a curtain, disappeared. Iskander heard 
voices, but could distinguish no words. Soon the officer 
returned, and, ordering the guards to disarm and search 
Iskander, directed the Grecian Prince to follow him. 
Drawing aside the curtain, Iskander and his attendant 
entered a low apartment of considerable size. It was hung 
with skins. A variety of armour and dresses were piled 
on couches. A middle-aged man, of majestic appearance, 
muffled in a pelisse of ftirs, with long chestnut hair, and a 
cap of crimson velvet and ermine, was walking up and down 
the apartment, and dictating some instructions to a person 
who was kneeling on the ground, and writing by the bright 
fiame of a brazen lamp. The bright flame or the blazing 
lamp fell full upon the face of the secretary. Iskander 
beheld a most beautiful woman. 

She looked up as Iskander entered. Her large dark 
eyes glanced through his soul. Her raven hair descended 
to her shoulders in many curls on each side of her face^ 
and was braided with strings of immense pearls. A broad 
cap of white fox-skin crowned her whiter fi3rehead. Her 



390 THE BISE OF 

features were very small, but sharply moulded, and a deli- 
cate tint gave aidmation to her clear &ir cheek. She 
looked up as Iskander entered^ with an air rather of 
curiosity than embarrassment. 

Hunniades stopped, and examined his visitor with a 
searching inquisition. ' Whence come you P ' inquired tlie 
Hungarian chieftain. 

* From the Turkish camp,* waa the answer. 

* An envoy or a deserter ? * 

* Neither.' 
•What then?' 

* A convert.' 

* Your name?' 

' Lord Hunniades,' said Iskander, ^ that is for yonr 
private ear. I am unarmed, and were I otherwise, ibe 
first knight of Christendom can scarcely fear. I am 
one in Inrth and rank your equal ; if not in fiune, at 
least, I trust, in honour. My time is all precious : I can 
scarcely stay here while my horse bi^eathes. Dismiss your 
attendant.' 

Hunniades darted a glance at his visitor which would 
have baffled a weaker brain, but Iskander stood the sera- 
tiny calm and undisturbed. * Go, Stanislaus, ' said the 
Vaivode to the officer. 'This lady, sir,' continued the 
chieftain, ' is my daughter, said one from whom I have no 
secrets.' 

Iskander Jjowed lowly as the officer disappeared. 

'And now,' said Hunniades, *to business. Your piu^ 
pose?' 

' I am a Grecian Prince, and a compulsory ally of the 
Moslemin. In a word, my purpose here is to arrange a plan 
by which we may eflfect, at the same time, your trium}^ 
and my freedom.' 

* To whom, then, have I the honour of speaking?' in- 
quired Hunniades. 



ISKANDEB. 391 

' Mj name, great Himiiiades, is perliap^ not altogether 
unknown to yon : they call me Iskander.' 

*What, the right arm of Amnrath,. the* conqueror of 
Caramania, the flower of Turkish chivalry ? Db 1 indeed 
behold that matchless warrior ? ' exclaimed Bunniades, 
and he held forth his hand to his guest, and imgirding 
his own sword, offered it to -the Prince. * Iduna,' con- 
tinned Hmmiades, to his daughter, ' yon at length behold 
Iskander.' 

* My joy is great, sir,' replied Iduna, * if I indeed rightly 
understand that we may count the Prince Iskander a 
champion of the Cross.* 

Iskander took from his heart his golden crucifix, and 
kissed it before her. ' This has been my companion and 
consolation for long years, lady,' said Iskander; *you, 
perhaps, know my mournful history, Hunniades. Hitherto 
my preWed sovereign has notT;quired me to bare my 
scimitar against my Christian brethren. That hour, how- 
ever, has at length arrived, and it has decided me to adopt 
a line of conduct long meditated. Karam Bey, who is 
aware of your necessities, the moment you commence your 
retreat, will attack you. I shall command his lefb wing. 
In spite of his superior power and position, draw up in 
array, and meet him with confidence. I propose, at a con- 
venient moment in the day, to withdraw my troops, and 
with the Epirots hasten to my native country, and at once 
raise the standard of independence. It is a bold measure, 
but Success is the child of Audacity. We must assist 
each other with mutual diversions. Single-handed it is in 
vain for me to commence a struggle, which, with all adven- 
titious advantages, will require the utmost exertion of 
energy, skill, and patience. But if yourself and the King 
Uladislaus occupy the armies of Amurath in Bulgaria, I 
am not without hope of ultimate success, since I have to 
inspire me all the most urgent interests of humanity, and 



392 THE RISE OF 

combat, at the same time, for my God, my conntry, and 
my lawful crown.' 

* Brave Prince, I pledge yon my troth,* said Hnnniades, 
coming forward and seizing his hand ; 'and while Iskander 
and Honniades live, they will never cease nntil they have 
achieved their great and holy end.' 

'It is a solemn compact,' said Iskander, ^more sacred 
than if registered by all the scribes of Christendom. Lady 
Idnna, your prayers ! ' 

' They are ever with the champions of the Cross, ''replied 
the daughter of Hunniades. She rose, the large cloak in 
which she was enveloped fell from her exquisite form. 
* Noble Iskander, this rosary is from the Holy Sepulchre/ 
continued Iduna ; * wear it for the sake and memory of that 
blessed Saviour who died for our sins.' 

Iskander held forth his arm and touched her delicate 
hand as he received the rosary, which, pressing to his lips, 
he placed round his neck. 

'Great Hunniades,' said the Grecian Prince, 'I must 
cross the mountains before dawn. Let me venture to en- 
treat that we should hear to-morrow that the Christian 
camp is in retreat.' 

* Let it even be so,' said the Hungarian, after some thought, 
' and may to-morrow's sun bring brighter days to Christen- 
dom.' And with these words terminated the brief and 
extraordinary visit of Iskander to the Christian general. 



CHAPTER V. 



The intelligence of the breaking up of the Christian cam^ 
and the retreat of the Christian army, soon reached the 
Divan of Elaram Bey, who immediately summoned Iskander 
to consult on the necessary operations. The chieftains agreed 



ISKANDEE. 393 

that instant ptLrsnit was indispensable, and soon the savage 
HaBmns poured forth from its green bosom swarms of that 
light cavalry which was perhaps even a more fatal arm of 
the Turkish power than the famons Janissaries themselves. 
They hovered on the rear of the retreating Christians, 
charged the wavering, captured the unwary. It was im- 
possible to resist their sudden and impetuous movements, 
which rendered their escape as secure as their onset was 
overwhelming. Wearied at length by the repeated assaults, 
Hunniades, who, attended by some chosen knights, had 
himself repaired to the rear, gave orders for the army to 
halt and offer battle. 

Their pursuers instantly withdrew to a distance, and 
gradually forming into two divisions, awaited the arrival of 
the advancing army of the Turks. The Moslemin came 
forward in fierce array, and with the sanguine courage in- 
spired by expected triumph. Very conspicuous was Iskan- 
der boundiug in his crimson vest upon his ebon steed, and 
waving his gleaming scimetar. 

The Janissaries charged, calling upon Allah! with an 
awful shout. The Christian knights, invoking the Christian 
saints, received the Turks at the points of their lances. 
But many a noble lance was shivered that morn, and many 
a bold rider and worthy steed bit the dust of that field, 
borne down by the irresistible ntiinbers of their fierce ad- 
versaries. Everywhere the balls and the arrows whistled 
through the air, and sometimes an isolated shriek heard 
amid the general clang, announced another victim to the fell 
and mysterious agency of the Gh:'eek fire. 

Hunniades, while he performed all the feats of an ap- 
proved warrior, watched with anxiety the disposition of 
th# Turkish troops. Hitherto, from the nature of their 
position but a portion of both armies had interfered in the 
contest, and as yet Iskander had kept aloof. But now, as 
the battle each instant raged with more fury, and as it was 



396 THE RISE OF 

farewell for a brief period to his troops, and soon having 
crossed the mountains, descended into the fertile plains of 
Epiras. 

When the snn rose in the morning, Iskander and his 
friends beheld at the farther end of the plain a fine citj 
shining in the Hght. It was surrounded with lofty turreted 
walls flanked by square towers, and was built upon a gentle 
eminence, which gave it a majestic appearance. Behind it 
rose a lofty range of purple mountains of picturesque form, 
and the highest peaks capped with snow. A noble lake, 
from which troops of wild fowl occasionally rose, expanded 
like a sheet of silver on one side of the city. The green 
breast of the contiguous hills sparkled with white houses. 

* Behold Croia ! ' exclaimed Iskander. * Our old fathers 
could choose a site, comrades. We shall see whether they 
expended their time and treasure for strangers, or their own 
seed.' So saying he spurred his horse, and with panting 
hearts and smiling faces, Iskander and his company had 
soon arrived in the vicinity of the city. 

The city was surrounded by a beautiful region of corn- 
fields and fruit-trees. The road was arched with the over- 
hanging boughs. The birds chirped on every spray. It was 
a blithe and merry morn. Iskander plucked a bunch of 
olives as he cantered along. * Dear friends,' he said, look- 
ing round with an inspiring smile, * let us gather our first 
harvest ! ' And, thereupon, each putting forth his rapid 
hand, seized, as he rushed by, the emblem of possession, 
and following the example of his leader, placed it in his 
cap. 

They arrived at the gates of the city, which was strongly 
garrisoned ; and Iskander, followed by his train, galloped np 
the height of the citadel. Alighting from his horse, he was 
ushered into the divan of the governor, an ancient Pacha, 
who received the conqueror of Caramania with all the re- 
spect that became so illustrious a champion of the Crescent 



ISKANDER. 397 

After the usual forms of ceremonious hospitality, Iskander, 
with a courteous air, presented him the order for delivering 
up the citadel ; and the old Pacha, resigning himself to the 
loss of his post with Oriental submission, instantly de- 
livered the keys of the citadel and town to Iskander, and 
requested permission immediately to quit the scene of his 
late command. 

Quitting the citadel, Iskander now proceeded through the 
whole town, and in the afternoon reviewed the Turkish gar- 
rison in the great square. As the late governor was anxious 
to quit Croia that very day, Iskander insisted on a conside- 
rable portion of the garrison accompanying him as a guard 
of honour, and returning the next morning. The rest he 
divided in several quarters, and placed the gates in charge 
of his own companions. 

At midnight the Epirots, faithful to their orders, arrived 
and united beneath the walls of the city, and after inter- 
changing the signals agreed upon, the gates were opened. 
A large body instantly marched and secured the citadel. 
The rest, conducted by appointed leaders, surrounded the 
Turks in their quarters. And suddenly, in the noon of 
night, in that great city, arose a clang so dreadful that 
people leapt up from, their sleep and stared with stupor. 
Instantly the terrace of every house blazed with torches, 
and it became as light as day. Troops of armed men were 
charging down the streets, brandishing their scimetars 
and yataghans, and exclaiming, * The Cross, the Cross ! ' 
* Liberty ! * * Greece ! ' ' Iskander and Epirus ! ' The towns- 
men recognised their countrymen by their language and 
their dress. The name of Iskander acted as a spell. They 
stopt not to inquire. A magic sympathy at once persuaded 
them that this great man had, by the grace of Heaven, re- 
curred to the creed and country of his fathers. And so every 
townsman, seizing the nearest weapon, with a spirit of 
patriotic frenzy, rushed into the stree*:s, crying out, * The 



398 THE EISE OF 

Cross, the Cross ! Liberty ! Greece ! Iskander and Epirns I * 
Ay ! even the women lost all womanly fears, and stimulated 
instead of soothing the impulse of tiieir masters. Th^ 
fetched them arms, they held the torches, they sent them 
forth with vows and prayers and imprecations, their cliil- 
dren clinging to their robes, and repeating with enthusiasm, 
phrases which they could not comprehend. 

The Turks fought with the desperation of men who feel 
that they are betrayed, and must be victims. The small 
and isolated bodies were soon massacred, all with cold 
steel, for at this time, although some of the terrible inven- 
tions of modem warfare were introduced, their use was not 
general. The citadel, indeed, was fortified with cannon; 
but the greater part of the soldiery trusted to their crooked 
swords and their unerring javelins. The main force of the 
Turkish garrison had been quartered in an old palace of 
the archbishop, situate in the middle of the city on a 
slightly rising and open ground, a masi^ building of rustic 
stone. Here the Turks, although surrounded, defended 
themselves desperately, using their cross bows with terrible 
effect ; and hither, the rest of the city being now secured, 
Iskander himself repaired to achieve its .complete deHver- 
ance. 

The Greeks had endeavoured to carry the principal en. 
trance of the palace by main force, but the strength of the 
portal had resisted their utmost exertions, and the arrows 
of the besieged had at length forced them to retire to a dis- 
tance. Iskander directed that two pieces of cannon should 
be dragged down from the citadel, and then played against 
the entrance. In the meantime, be ordered immense piles 
of damp faggots to be lit before the building, the smoke of 
which prevented the besieged from taking any aim. The 
ardour of the people was so great that the cannon were soon 
served against the palace, and their effects were speedily 
remarked. The massy portal shook ; a few blows of the 



ISKANDEB. 399 

battering ram, and it fell. The Turks salHed fortli, were 
reoeived with a shower df Greek fire, and driven in with 
agonising yells. Some endeavoured to escape from the 
the windows, and were speared or out do¥m ; some appeared 
wringing their hands in despair upon the terraced roof. 
Suddenly the palace was announced to be on fire. A tall 
white blueifih flame darted up from a cloud of smoke, and 
soon, as if by magic, the whole back of the building was 
encompassed with rising tongues of red and raging light. 
Amid a Babel of. shrieks, and shouts, and eiheers, and 
prayers, and curses, the roof of the palace feU in with a 
crash, which produced amid the besiegers an awfril and 
momentary silence, but in an instant they started from 
their strange inactiYity, and rushing forward, lei^t into the 
Amoking ruins, and at the same tune completed the massacre 
and achieved ^their freedom. 



♦CHAPTER Vn. 



At break of dawn Iskander sent couriers throughout aH 
Epirus, announcing the fall of Croia, and that he had raised 
the standard of independence in his ancient country. He 
also despatched a trusty messenger to Prince Mcsbus at 
Athens, and to the great Hunniades. The people were so 
excited throughout all Epirus, at this great and unthought- 
of intelligence, that they simultaneously rose in aU the open 
country, and massacred the Turks, and the towns were only 
restrained in a forced submission to Amurath, by the strong 
garrisons of the Sultan. 

Now Iskander was very anxious to effect the removal of 
these garrisons without loss of time, in order that if Amu- 
rath sent a great power against him, as he expected, the 
invading army might have nothing to rely upon but its own 



?v 



396 THE RISE OF 

farewell for a brief period to his troops, and soon having 
crossed the mountains, descended into the fertile plains of 
Epiras. 

When the smi rose in the morning, Iskander and his 
fiiends beheld at the farther end of the plain a fine city 
shining in the Hght. It was snrronnded with lofty turreted 
walls flanked by square towers, and was bnilt upon a gentle 
eminence, which gave it a majestic appearance. Behind it 
rose a lofty range of pnrple mountains of picturesque form, 
and the highest peaks capped with snow. A noble lake, 
from which troops of wild fowl occasionally rose, expanded 
like a sheet of silver on one side of the city. The green 
breast of the contiguous hills sparkled with white houses. 

* Behold Croia ! ' exclaimed Iskander. ' Our old fathers 
could choose a site, comrades. We shall see whether they 
expended their time and treasure for strangers, or their own 
seed.' So saying he spurred his horse, and with panting 
hearts and smiling faces, Iskander and his company had 
soon arrived in the vicinity of the city. 

The city was surrounded by a beautiftil region of corn- 
fields and fruit-trees. The road was arched with the over- 
hanging boughs. The birds chirped on every spray. It was 
a blithe and merry morn. Iskander plucked a bunch of 
olives as he cantered along. ' Dear friends,' he said, look- 
ing round with an inspiring smile, * let us gather our first 
harvest ! ' And, thereupon, each putting forth his rapid 
hand, seized, as he rushed by, the emblem of possession, 
and following the example of his leader, placed it in his 
cap. 

They arrived at the gates of the city, which was strongly 
garrisoned ; and Iskander, followed by his train, galloped np 
the height of the citadel. Alighting from his horse, he was 
ushered into the divan of the governor, an ancient Pacha, 
who received the conqueror of Caramania with all the re- 
spect that became so illustrious a champion of the Crescent. 



ISKANDEK. 397 

After the usual forms of ceremonious hospitality, Iskander, 
with a courteous air, presented him the order for delivering 
up the citadel ; and the old Pacha, resigning himself to the 
loss of his post with Oriental submission, instantly de- 
livered the keys of the citadel and town to Iskander, and 
requested permission immediately to quit the scene of his 
late command. 

Quitting the citadel, Iskander now proceeded through the 
whole town, and in the afternoon reviewed the Turkish gar- 
rison in the great square. As the late governor was anxious 
to quit Croia that very day, Iskander insisted on a conside- 
rable portion of the garrison accompanying him as a guard 
of honour, and returning the next morning. The rest he 
divided in several quarters, and placed the gates in charge 
of his own companions. 

At midnight the Epirots, faithful to their orders, arrived 
and united beneath the walls of the city, and after inter- 
changing the signals agreed upon, the gates were opened. 
A large body instantly marched and secured the citadel. 
The rest, conducted by appointed leaders, surrounded the 
Turks in their quarters. And suddenly, in the noon of 
night, in that great city, arose a clang so dreadful that 
people leapt up from their sleep and stared with stupor. 
Instantly the terrace of every house blazed with torches, 
and it became as light as day. Troops of armed men were 
charging down the streets, brandishing their scimetars 
and yataghans, and exclaiming, * The Cross, the Cross ! ' 
* Liberty ! ' * Greece ! ' * Iskander and Epirus ! ' The towns- 
men recognised their countrymen by their language and 
their dress. The name of Iskander acted as a spell. They 
stopt not to inquire. A magic sympathy at once persuaded 
them that this great man had, by the grace of Heaven, re- 
curred to the creed and country of his fathers. And so every 
townsman, seizing the nearest weapon, with a spirit of 
patriotic frenzy, rushed into the stree'^s, crying out, * The 



398 THE RISE OF 

Cross, the Cross ! Liberty ! Greece ! Iskander and Epims 1 * 
Ay ! even the women lost all womanly fears, and stimtilated 
instead of soothing the impulse of their masters. They 
fetched them arms, they held the torches, they sent them 
forth with vows and prayers and imprecations, their chil- 
dren clinging to their robes, and repeating with enthusiasm, 
phrases which they could not comprehend. 

The Turks fought with the desperation of men who feel 
that they are betrayed, and must be victims. The small 
and isolated bodies were soon massacred, all with cold 
fiteel, for at this time, although some of the terrible inven- 
tions of modem warfare were introduced, their use was not 
general. The citadel, indeed, was fortified vnth cannon; 
but the greater part of the soldiery trusted to their crooked 
swords and their unerring javelins. The main force of th© 
Turkish garrison had been quartered in an old palace of 
the archbishop, situate in the middle of the city on a 
slightly rising and open ground, a massy building of rustic 
stone. Here the Turks, although surrounded, defended 
themselves desperately, using their cross bows with terrible 
effect ; and hither, the rest of the cii^ being now secured, 
Iskander himself repaired to achieve its .complete deHver- 
ance. 

The Greeks had endeavoured to carry the principal en- 
trance of the palace by main force, but the strength of the 
portal had resisted their utmost exertions, and the arrows 
of the besieged had at length forced them to retire to a dis- 
tance. Iskander directed that two pieces of cannon should 
be dragged down from the citadel, and then played against 
the entrance. In the meantime, be ordered immense piles 
of damp faggots to be lit before the building, the smoke of 
which prevented the besieged from taking any aim. The 
ardour of the people was so great that the cannon were soon 
served against the palace, and their effects were speedily 
remarked. The massy portal shook ; a few blows of the 



ISKANDEB. 399 

battering ram, and it fell. The Turks sallied fortli, were 
reoeiyed with a shower df Greek fire, and driven in with 
agonising yells. Some endeavoured to escape from the 
the windows, and were speared or cnt down ; some appeared 
wringing their hands in despair upon the terraced roof. 
Suddenly the palace was announced to be on fire. A tall 
white blueifih flame darted up &om a cloud of smoke, and 
soon, as if by magic, the whole back of the building was 
encompa^ssed with rising tongues of red and raging light. 
Amid a Babel of. shrieks, and shouts, and cheers, and 
prayers, and curses, the roof of the palace fell in with a 
crash, which produced amid the besiegers an aw^l and 
naomentary silence, but in an instant they started from 
their sS^ge iBacti W. -d rushing forwai. le^t into the 
Bmoking ruins, and at the same time completed the massacre 
and achieved ^eir &eedom. 



CHAPTER Vn. 



At break of dawn Iskander sent couriers throughout aH 
Epirus, announcing the fall of Oroia, and that he had raised 
the standard of independence in his ancient country. He 
also despatched a trusty messenger to Prince NicsBus at 
Athens, and to the great Hunniades. The people were so 
excited throughout all Epirus, at this great and unthought- 
of intelligence, that they simultaneously rose in all the open 
country, and massacred the Turks, and the towns were only 
restrained in a forced submission to Amurath, by the strong 
garrisons of the Sultan. 

Now Iskander was very anxious to efiect the removal of 
these garrisons without loss of time, in order that if Amu- 
rath sent a great power against him, as he expected, the 
invading army might have noiMng to rely upon but its own 



400 THE EISE OF 

force, and tliat his attention might not in any way be di- 
verted from effecting their overthrow. Therefore, as Boon 
as his troops had rested, and he had formed his new recmits 
into some order, which, with their willing spirits, did not 
demand many days, Iskander set out from Croia, at the 
head of twelve thousand men, and marched against the 
strong city of Petrella, meeting in his way the remainder of 
the garrison of Croia on their return, who surrendered 
themselves to him at discretion. Petrella was only one 
day's march from Croia, and when Iskander arrived there 
he requested a conference with the governor, and told his 
tale so well, representing the late overthrow of the Turks 
by Hunniades, and the incapacity of Amurath at present to 
relieve him, that the Turkish commander agreed to deliyer 
up the place, and leave the country with his troops, par- 
ticularly as the alternative of Iskander to these easy terms 
was ever conquest without quarter. And thus, by a happy 
mixture of audacity and adroitness, the march of Iskander 
throughout Epirus was rather like a triumph than a cam- 
paign, the Turkish garrisons imitating, without any excep- 
tion, the conduct of their comrades at Petrella, and dreading 
the fate of their comrades at the capital. In less than a 
month Iskander returned to Epirus, having delivered the 
whole country from the Moslem yoke. 

Hitherto Iskander had heard nothing either of Hunniades 
or Nic8Bus. He learnt, therefore, with great interest, as he 
passed through the gates of the city, that the Prince of 
Athens had arrived at Croia the preceding eve, and also 
that his messenger had returned from the Hungarian camp. 
Amid the acclamations of an enthusiastic people, Iskander 
once more ascended the citadel of Croia. Nicaeus received 
him at the gate. Iskander sprang from his horse, and em- 
braced his friend. Hand in hand, and followed by their re- 
spective trains, they entered the fortress palace. 

' Dear friend,' said Iskander, when they were once more 



ISKA.NDER. 401 

alone, * you see we were riglit not to despair. Two months 
have scjarcely elapsed since we parted without a prospect, 
or with the most gloomy one, and now we are in a fair way 
of achieving all that we can desire. Epirus is free ! ' 

*I came to claim my share in its emancipation,' said 
Nicaeus, with a smile, * but Iskander is another Caasar ! * 

*You will have many opportunities yet, believe me, 
NicaBUs, of proving your courage and your patriotism,' re- 
plied Iskander; *Amurath will never allow this affair to 
pass over in this quiet manner. I did not commence this 
ptruggle without a conviction that it would demand all the 
energy and patience of a long life. I shall be rewarded if I 
leave freedom as an heritage to my countrymen ; but for 
the rest, I feel that I bid farewell to every joy of life, except the 
ennobling consciousness of performing a noble duty. In the 
meantime, I understand a messenger awaits me here from the 
great Hunniades. Unless that shield of Christendom main- 
twn himself in Hs present position, our chance of ultimate 
security is feeble. "With his constant diversion in Bulgaria, 
we may contrive here to struggle into success. You some- 
times laugh at my sanguine temper, Nicaeus. To say the 
truth, I am more serene than sanguine, and was never more 
conscious of the strength of my opponent than now, when 
it appears that I have beaten him. Hark ! the people 
cheer. I love the people, Nicaeus, who are ever influenced 
by genuine and generous feelings. They cheer as if they 
had once more gained a country. Alas ! they little know 
what they must endure even at the best. Nay ! look not 
gloomy; we have done great things, and will do more. 
Who waits without there ? Demetrius ! Call the messenger 
from Lord Hunniades.' 

An Epirot bearing a silken packet was now introduced, 
which he deUv^ed to Iskander. ^ Reverently touching the 
hand of his chieftain, the messenger then kissed his own and 



402 TflE EISE OF 

withdrew. Iskander broke the seal, and drew forth a letter 
from the silken cover. 

* So ! this is weU ! * exclaimed the prince, with great 
animation, as he threw his qnick eye over the letter. * AbI 
hoped and deemed, a most complete victory. Karam Bey 
himself a prisoner, baggage, standards, great gtms, treasure. 
Brave soldier of the Cross ! (may I prove so !) Your per- 
fectly-devised movement (poh, poh !) Hah ! what is this ? ' 
exclaimed Iskander, turning pale ; his lip qnivered, his eye 
looked dim. He walked to an arched window. TTia com- 
panion, who supposed that he was reading, did not disturb 
him. 

* Poor, poor Hunniades ! ' at length exclaimed Iskander, 
shaking his head. 

* What of him? ' inquired Nicaeus, quickly. 

* The sharpest accident of war ! ' replied Iskander. * It 
quite clouds my spirit. "We must forget these things, we 
must forget. Epirus ! he is not a patriot who can spare a 
thought firom thee. And yet, so young, so beautiftd, so 
gifted, so worthy of a hero ! when I saw her by her great 
father's side, sharing his toils, aiding his councils, supplying 
his necessities, methought I gazed upon a ministering angel I 
upon ^' 

' Stop, stop in mercy's name, Iskander ! ' exclaimed Nicsens, 
in a very agitated tone. ' What is all this P Surely no^ 
surely not, surely Iduna * 

^'Tisshel' 

' Dead ? ' exclaimed Nicasus, rushing up to his companion, 
and seizing his arm. 

' Worse, much worse I * 

' God of Heaven ! ' exclaimed the young prince, with 
almost a frantic air. ' Tell me all, tell me all ! This sus- 
pense fires my brain. Iskander, you know not what this 
woman is to me : the sole object of my being, the bane, the 



ISKAKDER. 403 

blessing of my life ! Speak, dear Mend, speak ! I beseeoh 
you ! Where is Idnna ? ' 

* A prisoner to tlie Turk/ 

* Iduna a prisoner to the Turk. I'll mot believe it ! Why 
do we wear swords? Where's chivalry? Idnna, a prisoner 
to the Turk ! 'Tis false. It cannot be. Iskander, you are 
a coward ! I am a coward ! All are cowards ! A prisoner 
to the Turk \ Iduna \ What, the Bose of Christendom ! 
has it been plucked by such a turbaned dog as Amurath ? 
Farewell, Epirus! Farewell, classic Athens ! Farewell, 
bright fields of Greece, and dreams that made them 
brighter ! The sun of all my joy and hope is Be% and set 
for everl' 

So saying, Nicsdus, tearing his hair and garm^its, flung 
himself upon the floor, and hid his face in his robes. 

Iskander paced the room with a troubled step and 
thoughtfdl brow. After some minutes he leant down by 
4;he Prince of Athens, and endeavoured to console him. 

' It is in vain, Iskander, it is in vain,' said liTicsBus. ' I 
wish to die.' 

* Were I a fiivoured lover, in such a situation,* replied 
Iskander, ' I should scarcely consider death my duty, unless 
the sacrifice of myself preserved my mistress/ 

* Hah ! ' exclaimed NicsBus, starting from the ground. 
* Do you conceive, then, the possibility of rescuing her ? ' 

' If she live, she is a prisoner in the Seraglio at Adria- 
nople. You are as good a judge as myself of the prospect 
that awaits your exertions. It is, without doubt, a difficult 
adventure, but such, methinks, as a Christian knight should 
scarcely shun.' 

*To horse,' exclaimed Nicieus, *To horse And yet 

what can I do ? Were she in any other place but the capi« 
tal I might rescue her by force, but in the heart of their 
empire, it is impossible. Is there no ransom that can tempi 

D D 2 



404 THE BISE OF 

the Turk ? My principality would rise in the balance beside 
this jewel.* 

* That were scarcely wise, and certainly not just,' replied 
Iskander ; * but ransom will be of no avail. Hnnniadeshas 
already offered to restore EiiTam Bey, and all the prisoners 
of rank, and the chief trophies, and Amnrath has refdsedto 
listen to any terms. The truth is, Iduna has found &Y(mr 
in the eyes of his son, the young Mahomed.' 

* Holy Virgin ! hast thou no pity on this Christian maid?^ 
exclaimed Nicceus. * The young Mahomed ! Shall this 

licentious infidel ah ! Iskander, dear, dear Iskander, 

you who have so much wisdom, and so mucb courage, yon 
who can devise all things, and dare all things, help me, 
help me ; on my knees I do beseiech you, take up this trying 
cause of foul oppression, and for the sake of all you love 
and reverence, your creed, your country, and perchance 
your Mend, let your great genius, like some solemn angel, 
haste to the rescue of the sweet Iduna, and save her, saye 
her!' 

* Some thoughts like these were rising in my mind when 
first I spoke,* replied Iskander. * This is a better cue, fiff 
more becoming princes than boyish tears, and all the out- 
ward misery of woe, a tattered garment and dishevelled 
locks. Come, Nicaeus, we have to struggle with a mighty 
fortune. Let us be firm as Fate itself.' 



CHAPTER Vni. 

Immediately after his interview with Nicaeus, Iskander 
Bummoned some of the chief citizens of Croia to the citadel, 
and submitting to them his arrangements for the adminis- 
tration of Epirus, announced the necessiiy of his instant 
departure for a short interval ; and the same evening, ere 
the moon had risen, himself and the Prince of Athens 



ISKA2n)ER. 405 

quitted tho city, and proceeded in the direction of Adria- 
nople. They travelled with great rapidity until they reached 
a small town upon the frontiers, where they halted for one 
day. Here, in the bazaar, Iskander purchased for himself 
the dress of an Armenian physician. In his long dark 
robes, and large round cap of Hack wool, his face and 
hands stained, and bis beard and mustachios shaven, it 
seemed impossible that he could be recognised. XicsBus 
was habited as his page, in a dress o£ coarse red cloth, 
sitting tight to his form, with a red cap, with a long blue 
tassel. He carried a large bag containing drugs, some sur- 
gical instruments, and a few books. In this guise, as soon 
as the gates were open on the morrow, Iskander, mounted 
on a small mule, and NicsBus on a large donkey, the two 
Princes commenced the pass of the mountainous range, an 
arm of the Balkan which divided Epirus from Eoumelia. 

* I broke the wind of the finest charger in all Asia when 
I last ascended these mountains,' said Iskander ; ' I hope 
this day's journey may be accepted as a sort of atonement. 

* Faith ! there is little doubt I am the best mounted of 
the two,' said NicsBus. * However, I hope we shall return 
at a sharper pace.' 

*How came it, my Mcebus,' said Iskander, *that you 
never mentioned to me the name of Iduna when we were 
at Athens. I little supposed when I made my sudden visit 
to Hunniades, that I was about to appeal to so fair a host. 
She is a rarely gifted lady.' 

' I knew of her being at the camp as little as yourself,' 
replied the Prince of Athens, ' and for the rest, the truth is, 
Iskander, there are some slight crosses in our loves, which 
Time, I hope, will fashion rightly.' So saying NicsBus 
pricked on his donkey, and flung his stick at a bird which 
was perched on the branch of a tree. Iskander did not re- 
sume a topic to which his companion seemed disinclined. 
Their journey was tedious. Towards nightfall they reached 



406 THE RISE OF 

the sninmit of the nsnal track ; and as the descent was 
difficult, thej were obliged to rest until daybreak. 

On the morrow they had a magnificent view of the ricli 
plains of Boumelia, and in the extreme distance, the great 
city of Adrianople, its cupolas and minarets blazing and 
sparkling in the sun. This glorious project at once re- 
vived all their energies. It seemed that the moment of 
peril and of fiite had arrived. They pricked on their sony 
steeds ; and on the morning of the next day presented 
themselves at the gates of the city. The thorotigh know- 
ledge which Iskander possessed of the Turkish character 
obtained them an entrance, which was at one time almost 
doubtful, from the irritability and impatience of Nicsens. 
They repaired to a caravansera of good repute in the neigh- 
bourhood of the seraglio ; and having engaged their rooms, 
the Armenian physician, attended by his page, visited seve- 
ral of the neighbouring coffee-houses, announcing, at the 
same time, his arrival, his profession, and his skill. 

As Iskander felt pulses, examined tongues, and distributed 
drugs and charms, he listened with interest and amusement 
to the conversation of which he himself was often the hero. 
He found that the Turks had not yet recovered from their 
consternation at his audacity and success. They were still 
wondering, and if possible more astounded than indignant 
The politicians of the coffee-houses, chiefly consisting of 
Janissaries, were loud in their murmurs. The popularity 
of Amurath had vanished before the triumph of Hunniades, 
and the rise of Iskander. 

* But Allah has in some instances favoured the faithful,* 
remarked Iskander ; * I heard in my travels of your having 
captured a great princess of the Giaours.' 

* God is great ! ' said an elderly Turk with a long white 
beard. * The Hakim congratulates the faithful because they 
have taken a woman ! ' 

* Not so merely,' replied Iskander ; * I heard the woman 



ISKANDEE. 407 

was a princess. J£ so, tlie people of Franguestan will pay 
any ransom for their great women ; and by giving up this 
fair Giaour you may free many of the faithful.' 

'MashaUah!' said another ancient Turk, sipping his 
coffee. * The Hakim speaks wisely.' 

* May I murder my mother ! ' exclaimed a young Janis- 
sary, with great indignation. * But this is the very thing 
that makes me wild against Amurath. Is not this princess 
a daughter of that accursed Giaour, that dog of dogs, Hun- 
niades ? and has he pot offered for her ransom our brave 
Karam Bey himself and his chosen warriors ? and has not 
Amurath said nay P And why has he said nay P Because 
his son, the Prince Mahomed, instead of fighting against 
the Giaours, has looked upon one of their women, and has 
become a Mejnoun. Pah ! May I murder my mother, but 
if the Giaours were in full march to the city, I'd not 
fight. And let him tell this to the Cadi who dares ; for 
there are ten thousand of us, and we have sworn by the 
Kettle, but we will not fight for Giaours, or those who love 
Giaours ! ' 

* If you mean me, Ali, about going to the Cadi,' said the 
chief eunuch of Mahomed, who was standing by, * let me 
tell you I am no tale-bearer, and scorn to do an unmanly 
act. The young prince can beat the Giaours without the 
aid of those who are noisy enough in a coffee-house, when 
they are quiet enough in the field. And, for the rest of the 
business, you may all ease your hearts; for the Frangy 
princess you talk of is pining away, and will soon die. The 
Sultan has offered a hundred purses of gold to any one who 
cures her ; but the gold wiU never be counted by the Has- 
nadar, or I will double it.' 

* Try your fortune, Hakim,' said several laughing loungers 
to Iskander. 

* Allah has stricken the Frangy princess,' said the old 
Turk with a white beard. 



408 THE RISE OF 

* He will strike all Giaours,' said his ancient compamon, 
sipping his coffee. * 'Tis so written.' 

* Well ! I do not like to hear of women slaves pining to 
death,' said the young Janissarj, in a softened tone, ' par- 
ticularly when they are young, Amurath should have 
ransomed her, or he might have given her to one of his 
officers, or any young feUow that had particularly distin- 
guished himself.' And so, twirling his mustachios, and 
flinging down his piastre, the young Janissary strutted out 
of the coffee-house. # 

* When we were young,' said the old Turk with the white 
beard to his companion, shaking his head, ' when we were 
young ' 

* We conquered Anatolia, and never opened our mouths,' 
rejoined his companion. 

' I never offered an opinion till I was sixty,' said the old 
Turk ; * and then it was one which had been in our fanulj 
for a century.* 

' "No wonder Hunniades carries everything before him,* 
said his companion. 

' And that accursed Iskander,' said the old man. 

The chief eunuch, finishiug his vase of sherbet, moved 
away. The Armenian physician followed him. 



CHAPTER IX. 



The chief eunuch turned into a burial-ground, through 
which a way led, by an avenue of cypress-trees, to the 
quarter of the Seraglio. The Armenian physician, accom- 
panied by his page, followed him. 

* Noble sir ! ' said the Armenian physician ; * may I tres- 
pass for a moment on your lordship's attention ? ' 

* Worthy Hakim, is it you ? ' replied the chief eunuch, 



ISKANDEE. 409 

tnmmg round witli an encouraging smile of courteous con- 
descension, * your pleasure ? * 

* I would speak to you of important matters,' said tlie 
physician. 

THe eunuch carelessly seated himself on a richly-carved 
tomb, and crossing his legs with an air of pleasant supe- 
riority, adjusted a fine emerald that sparkled on his finger, 
and bade the Hakim address him without hesitation. 

' I am a physician,* said the Armenian. 

The eunuch nodded. 

* And I heard your lordship in the coffee-house mention 
that the Sultan, our sublime Master, had offered a rich 
reward to any one who could effect the cure of a favourite 
captive.' 

* 1^0 less a reward than one hundred purses of gold,' re- 
marked the eunuch. * The reward is proportioned to the 
exigency of the case. Believe me, worthy sir, it is desperate." 

* "With mortal means,' replied the Armenian ; * but I pos- 
sess a talisman of magical influence, which no disorder can 
resist. I would fain try its efficacy.' 

* This is not the first talisman that has been offered us, 
worthy doctor,' said the eunuch, smiling incredulously. 

* But the first that has been offered on these terms,' said 
the Armenian. * Let me cure the captive, and of the one 
hundred purses, a moiety shall belong to yourself. Ay ! so 
confident am I of success, that I deem it no hazard to com- 
mence our contract by this surety.' And so saying, the 
Armenian took fix)m his finger a gorgeous carbuncle, and 
offered it to the eunuch. The worthy dependant of the 
Seraglio had a great taste in jewellery. He examined the 
stone with admiration, and placed it on his finger with 
complacency. * I require no inducements to promote the 
interests of science, and the purposes of charity,' said the 
eunuch, with a patronising air. * 'Tis assuredly a pretty 
stone, and, as the memorial of an ingenious stranger, whom 



410 THE EISE OF 

I respect, I shall, with pleasnre, retain it. You were saying 
something about a talisman. Are jou seriouB ? I doubt 
not tiiat there are means which might obtain you the 
desired trial ; but the Prince Mahomed is as violent when 
displeased or disappointed as munificent when gratified. 
Cure this Christian captive, and we may certainly receiye 
the promised purses : fail, and your head will as assuredly 
be flung into the Seraglio moat, to say nothing of my own.' 

* Most noble sir ! ' said the physician, * I sjn willing to 
undertake the experiment on the terms you mention. Rest 
assured that the patient, if alive, must, with this remedy, 
speedily recover. You marvel ! Believe me, had you wit- 
nessed the cures which it has already effected, jou would 
only wonder at its otherwise incredible influence.' 

* You have the advantage,' replied the eunuch, * of ad- 
dressing a man who has seen something of the world. I 
travel every year to Aaatolia with the Prince Mahomed. 
Were I a narrow-minded bigot, and had never been five 
miles from Adrianople m the whole course of my life, I 
might indeed be sceptical. Bat I am a patron of science, 
and have heard of talismans. How much might this ring 
weigh, think you ? ' 

* I have heard it spoken of as a carbuncle of uncommon 
size,' replied the Armenian. 

* Where did you say you lodged. Hakim ? ' 

* At the Khan of Bedreddin.' 

* A very proper dwelling. Well, we shall see. Have you 
more jewels ? I might, perhaps, put you in the way of 
parting with some at good prices. The Elhan of Bedreddin 
is very conveniently situated. I may, perhaps, towards 
evening, taste your coffee at the Khan of Bedreddin, and 
we wiU talk of this said talisman. Allah be with you, 
worthy Hakim!' The eunuch nodded, not without en- 
couragement, and went his way. 

*An»ety alone enabled me to keep my countenance,* 



ISKANDER. 411 

said Nicaeus. * A patron of science, forsootli ! Of all the 

insolent, shallow-brained, rapacious coxcombs ' 

* Hush, my friend ! ' said Iskander, with a smile. * The 
chief ennnch of the heir apparent of the Turkish empire is 
a far greater man than a poor prince, or a proscribed rebel. 
This worthy can do onr business, and I trust will. He 
clearly bites, and a rich^ bait will, perhaps, secure him. 
In the meantime, we must be patient^ and remember whose 
destiny is at stake.' 



CHAPTER X. 



The chief eunuch did not keep the adventurous companions 
long in suspense ; for, before the muezzin had announced 
the close of day from the minarets, he had reax^hed the 
Khan of Bedreddin, and inquired for the Armenian phy- 
sician. 

* We have no time to lose,' said the eunuch to Iskander. 
* Bring with you whatever you may require, and follow 
me.' 

The eunuch led the way, Iskander and NicsBus main- 
taining a respectfdl distance. After proceeding down 
several streets, they arrived at the burial-ground, where 
they had conversed in the morning ; and when they had 
entered this more retired spot, the eunuch fell back, and 
addressed his companion. 

* Now, worthy Hakim,' he said, * if you deceive me, I 
will never patronize a man of science again. I found an 
opportunity of speaking to the Prince this afternoon of 
your talisman, and he has taken from my representations 
such a fancy for its immediate proof, that I found it quite 
impossible to postpone its trial even until to-morrow. I 
mentioned the terms. I told the Prince your life was the 



412 THE KISE OF 

pledge. I said nothing of tlie moiety of the reward, worihy 
Hakim. That is an affair between onrselves. I trust to 
yonr honour, and I always act thus with men of science/ 

* I shall not disgrace my profession or yonr confidence, 
rest assured,' replied Iskander. 'And am I to see the 
captive this night ? ' 

* 1 doubt it not. Are yon prepared ? We might, per- 
haps, gain a Uttk time, if very necessary.' 

* By no means, sir ; Truth is ever prepared.' 

Thus conversing, they passed through the burial-ground, 
and approached some high, broad walls, forming a terrace, 
and planted with young sycamore trees. The eunuch 
tapped, with his silver stick, at a small gate, which opened, 
and admitted them into a garden, full of large clumps of 
massy shrubs. Through these a winding walk led for some 
way, and then conducted them to an open lawn, on which 
was situate a vast and irregular building. As they ap- 
proached the pile, a young man of imperious aspect rushed 
forward from a gate, and abruptly accosted Iskander. 

* Are you the Armenian physician ? ' he inquired. 
Iskander bowed assent. 

' Have you got your talisman ? You know the terms ? 
Cure this Christian girl and you shall name your own 
reward ; fail, and I shall claim your forfeit head.' 

'The terms are well understood, mighty Prince,' said 
Iskander, for the young man was no less a personage than 
the son of Amurath, and future conqueror of Constantinople; 
* but I am confident there will be no necessity for the 
terror of Christendom claiming any other heads than those 
of his enemies.* 

* Kaflis will conduct you at once to your patient,' said 
Mahomed. * For myself, I cannot rest until I know the 
result of your visit. I shall wander about these gardrtis, 
and destroy the flowers, which is the only pleasure now 
left me.' 



ISKANDER. 413 

Kaflis motioned to his companions to advance, and they 
entered the Seraglio. 

At the end of a long gallery they came to a great portal, 
which Kaflis opened, and Iskander and Nicssos for a moment 
supposed that they had arrived at the chief hall of the 
Tower of Babel, bnt they found the shrill din only pro- 
ceeded from a large company of women, who were employed 
in distilling the rare atar of the jasmine flower. All their 
voices ceased on the entrance of the strangers, as if by a 
miracle ; but when they had examined them, and observed 
that it was only a physician and his boy, their awe, or 
their surprise, disappeared; and they crowded round 
Iskander, some holding out their wrists, others lolling 
out their tongues, and some asking questions, which per- 
plexed alike the skill and the modesty of the adventurous 
dealer in magical medicine. The annoyance, however, was 
not of great duration, for Kaflis so belaboured their fair 
shoulders with his official baton, that they instantly re- 
treated with precipitation, uttering violent shrieks, and 
bestowing on the eunuch so many titles, that Iskander and 
his page were quite astounded at the intuitive knowledge 
which the imprisoned damsels possessed of that vocabulary 
of abuse, which is in general mastered only by the experi- 
ence of active existence. 

Quitting this chamber, the eunuch and his companions 
ascended a lofty staircase. They halted at length before a 
door. * This is the chamber of the tower,' said their guide, 
^ and here we shall find the &ir captive.' He knocked, the 
door was opened by a female slave, and Iskander and 
Nic89us, with an anxiety they could with difficulty conceal, 
were ushered into a small but sumptuous apartment. In 
the extremity was a recess covered with a light gau2y 
curtain. The eunuch bidding them keep in the background, 
advanced, and cautiously withdrawing the curtain slightly 
aside, addressed some words in a low voice to the inmate 



414 THE RISE OF 

of the recess. In a few minntes the ennxLch beckoned to 
Iskander to advance, and whispered to him : ' She would 
not at first see yon, bnt I have told her yon are a Christian, 
the more the pity, and she consents.' So saying, he witb- 
drew the curtain, and exhibited a veiled female figure lying 
on a conch. 

' Noble lady,' said the physician in Greek, which he had 
ascertained the ennnch did not comprehend ; ^ pardon the 
zeal of a Christian friend. Though habited in this garb, I 
have served under your illustrious sire. I should dean 
my life well spent in serving the daughter of the greoi) 
Hunniades.' 

* Kind stranger,' replied the captive, ' I was ill prepared 
for such a meeting. I thank you for your sympathy, bat 
my sad fortunes are beyond human aid.' 

' Gk)d works by humble instruments, noble lady,' said 
Iskander, ' and with his blessing we may yet prosper.' 

' I fear that I must look to death as my only refuge,' 
replied Iduna, 'and still more, I fear that it is not so 
present a reftige as my oppressors themselves imagine. 
But you are a physician ; tell me then how speedily Nature 
wiU make me free.' 

She held forth her hand, which Iskander took and 
involuntarily pressed. 'Noble lady,' he said, ' my skill is a 
mere pretence to enter these walls. The only talisman I 
bear with me is a message from your friends.* 

' Indeed ! ' said Iduna, in an agitated tone. 

' Bestrain yourself, noble lady,' said Iskander, inte^ 
posing, * restrain yourself. Were you any other but the 
daughter of Hunniades I would not have ventured upon 
this perilous exploit. But I know that the Lady Iduna has 
inherited something more than the name of her great an- 
cestors, their heroic soul. If ever there were a moment in 
her life in which it behoved her to exert aU her energies, 
that moment has arrived. The physician who addrenei 



ISKANDEE. 415 

her, and his attendant who waits at hand, are two of the 
Ladj Idnna's most devoted Mends. There is nothing that 
they will not hazard, to effect her delivery ; and they have 
matured a plan of escape which they are sanguine must 
succeed. Yet its completion will require, on her part, 
great anxiety of mind, greater exertion of body, danger, 
fatigue, privation. Is the Lady Iduna prepared for all this 
endurance, and all this hazard ? ' 

* Noble friend,' replied Iduna, ' for I cannot deem you a 
stranger, and none but a chivalric knight could have 
entered upon this almost forlorn adventure ; you have not, 
I trust, miscalculated my character. I am a slave, and 
unless heaven will interpose, must soon be a dishonoured 
one. My freedom and my fame are aUke at stake. There 
is no danger, and no suffering which I will not gladly wel- 
come, provided there be even a remote chance of regaining 
my liberty and securing my honour.' 

* You are in the mind I counted on. Now, mark my 
words, dear lady. Seize an opportunity this evening of 
expressing to your gaolers that you have already experi- 
enced some benefit from my visit, and announce your rising 
confidence in my skill. In the meantime I will make such 
a report that our daily meetings will not be difficult. For 
the present, fftrewelL The Prince Mahomed waits without, 
and I would exchange some words with him before I go.' 

* And must we part without my being acquainted with 
the generous friends to whom I am indebted for an act of 
devotion which almost reconciles me to my sad &,te ? ' said 
Iduna. * You wiU not, perhaps, deem the implicit trust 
reposed in you by one whom you have no interest to 
deceive, and who, if deceived, cannot be placed in a worse 
position than she at present fills, as a very gratifying mark 
of confidence, yet that trust is reposed in you ; and let me, 
at least, soothe the galling dreariness of my solitary hours, 
by the recollection of the friends to whom I am indebted 




416 THE RISE OF 

for a deed of friendship which, has filled me with a feeUng 
of wonder from which I have not yet recovered.' 

* The person who has penetrated the Seraglio of Con- 
stantinople in disgnise to rescne the Lady Iduna,' answered 
Iskander, * is the Prince Nicsens.' 

' Nic8Bns ! ' exclaimed Idona, in an agitated tone. ' The 
voice to which I listen is.snrely not that of the Prince 
NicsBus ; nor the form on which I gaze,' she added, as she 
unveiled. Beside her stood the tall figure of the Armenian 
physician. She beheld his swarthy and unrecognised coun- 
tenance. She cast her dark eyes around with an air of 
beautiful perplexity. 

' I am a friend of the Prince Niceeus,' said the physician. 
' He is here. Shall he advance ? Alexis,' called out 
Iskander, not waiting for her reply. The page of the phy- 
sician came forward, but the eunuch accompanied him. 
' All is right,' said Iskander to Kaflis. * We are sure of 
our hundred purses. But, without doubt, with any other 
aid, the case were desperate.' 

* There is but one God,' said the eunuch, polishing his 
carbuncle, with a visage radiant as the gem. * I never 
repented patronizing men of science. The prince waits 
without. Come along!' He took Iskander by the arm. 
'Where is your boy? What are you doing there, sir?* 
inquired the eunuch, sharply, of NicsBus, who was tarrying 
behind, and kissing the hand of Iduna. 

* I was asking the lady for a favour to go to the coffee- 
house with,' replied NicsBus, *you forget that I am to have 
none of the hundred purses.' 

*True,' said the eunuch; 'there is something in that. 
Here, boy, here is a piastre for you. I like to encourage 
men of science, and all that belong to them. Do not go 
and spend it all in one morning, boy, and when the fair 
captive is cured, if you remind me, boy, perhaps I may give 
you another.' 



ISKANDEE. 417 



CHAPTER XI. 

Kaflis and bis charge again reached the garden. The 
twilight was nearly past. A horseman galloped up to 
them, followed by several running footmen. It was the 
prince. 

'Well, H!akim,' he inquired, in his usual abrupt style, 

* can you cure her ? * 

* Yes,* answered Iskander,. firmly. 

*!N"ow listen. Hakim,* said Mahomed. *I must very 
shortly leave the city, and proceed into Epinis at the head 
of our troops. I have sworn two things, and I have sworn 
them by the holy stone. Ere the new moon, I will have 
the heart of Iduna and the head of Iskander ! ' 

The physician bowed. 

' If you can so restore the health of this Erangy girl,' 
continued Mahomed, * that she may attend me within ten 
days into Epirus, you shall claim from my treasury what 
sum you like, and become physician to the Seraglio. What 
say you ? ' 

' My hope and my belief is,* replied Iskander, * that within 
ten days she may breathe the air of Epirus.' 

*By my father's beard, you are a man after my own 
heart,* exclaimed the prince; *and since thou dealest in 
talismans. Hakim, can you give me a charm that will 
secure me a meeting with this Epirot rebel within the term, 
so that I may keep ray oath. What say you ? what say 
you?* 

' There are such spells,* replied Iskander. 'But mark, I 
can only secure the meeting, not the head.' 

' That is my part,' said Mahomed, with an arrogant sneer. 

* But the meeting, the meeting ? ' 

E E 



418 THE BISE OF 

' YoxL know the fountain of Kallista in Epims. Its yir* 
tues are renowned.' 

* I have heard of it.' 

* Plunge your scimetar in its midnight waters thrice, on 
the eve of the new moon, and each time summon the enemy 
you would desire to meet. He will not fail you.* 

* If you cure the captive, I will credit the legend, and 
keep the appointment,' replied Mahomed, thoughtfully. 

* I have engaged to do that,' replied the physician. 

* Well, then, I shall redeem my pledge,' said the prince. 

* But mind,' said the physician, * while I engage to cupb 
the lady and produce the warrior, I can secure your 
highness neither the heart of the one nor the head of the 
other.' 

* 'Tis understood,' said Mahomed. 



CHAPTER XII. 



The Armenian physician did not fail to attend his captive 
patient at an early hour on the ensuing morn. TTin patron 
Kaflis received him with an encouraging smile. 

' The talisman already works,' said the eunuch : ' she has 
passed a good night, and confesses to an improvement. 
Our purses are safe. Methinks I already count the gold. 
But I say, worthy Hakim, come hither, come hither,' and 
Kaflis looked around to be sure that no one was within 
hearing. * I say,' and here he put on a very mysterious air 
indeed, * the prince is generous ? you understand ? We go 
shares. We shall not quarrel. I never yet repented pa- 
tronising a man of science, and I am sure I never shaD. 
The prince, you see, is violent, but generous. I would not 
cure her too soon, eh ? ' 

* You take a most discreet view of aflairs/ responded I»- 



ISKANDEB. 419 

kander, with an air of complete assent, and they entered 
the chamber of the tower. 

Idnna performed her part with dexterity ; bnt, indeed, it 
required less skill than herself and her advisers had at first 
imagined. Her malady, although it might have ended 
fatally, was in its origin entirely mental, and the sudden 
prospect of freedom, and of restoration to her country and 
her family, at a moment when she had deHvered herself up 
to despair, f^QPorded her a great and instantaneous benefit. 
She could not, indeed, sufficiently restrain her spirits, and 
smiled incredulously when Iskander mentioned the impend- 
ing exertion and fatigues with doubt and apprehension. 
His anxiety to return immediately to Epirus, determined 
him to adopt the measures for her rescue without loss of 
time, and on his third visit, he prepared her for making the 
great attempt on the ensuing mom. Hitherto Iskander 
had refrained from revealing himself to Iduna. He was 
induced to adopt this conduct by various considerations. 
He could no longer conceal from himself that the daughter 
of Hunniades exercised an influence over his feeliugs which 
he was unwilling to encourage. His sincere friendship for 
NicKus, and his conviction that it was his present duty to 
concentrate all his thought and afiection in the cause of his 
country, would have rendered him anxious to have resisted 
any emotions of the kind, even could he have flattered him- 
self that there was any chance of their being returned by 
the object of his rising passion. But Iskander was as 
modest as he was brave and gifted. The disparity of age 
between himself and Iduna appeared an insuperable barrier 
to his hopes, even had there been no other obstacle. Is- 
kander struggled with his love, and with his strong mind 
the struggle, though painful, was not without success. He 
felt that he was acting in a manner which must ultimately 
tend to the advantage of his country, the happiness of his 
friend, and perhaps the maintenance of his own self-respect. 

E B 2 



420 THE RISE OF 

For he had too much pride not to be sensible to the bitter- 
ness of rejection. 

Had he perceived more indications of a cordial feeling 
subsisting between Nicseus and Iduna, he Tvould perhaps 
not have persisted in maintaining his disguise. But he had 
long suspected that the passion of the Prince of Athens was 
not too favourably considered by the daughter of Hunnia- 
des, and he was therefore exceedingly anxious that Nicsens 
should possess all the credit of the present adventure, which 
Iskander scarcely doubted, if successfal, would allow Nicceus 
to urge irresistible claims to the heart of a mistress whom 
he had rescued at the peril of his life from slavery and dis- 
honour, to offer rank, reputation, and love. Iskander took, 
therefore, several opportunities of leading Iduna to beheve 
that he was merely a confidential agent of Niceeus, and that 
the whole plan of her rescue from the Seraglio of Adrianople 
had been planned by his young friend. In the meantime, 
during the three days on which they had for short intervals 
met, very few words had been interchanged between Nicseas 
and his mistress. Those words, indeed, had been to h\m of 
the most inspiring nature, and expressed such a deep sense 
of gratitude, and such Hvely regard, that Nicaeus could no 
longer resist the delightful conviction that he had at length 
created a permanent interest in her heart. Often he longed 
to rush to her couch, and press her hand to his lips. Even 
the anticipation of future happiness could not prevent liiiu 
from envying the good fortune of Iskander, who was allowed 
to converse with her without restraint; and bitterly, on 
their return to the khan, did he execrate the ])ompous 
eunuch for all the torture which ho occasioned him by his 
silly conversation, and the petty tyranny of office with which 
Kaflis always repressed his attempts to converse for a moment 
with Iduna. 

In the meantime all Adrianople sounded with the pre- 
parations for the immediate invasion of Epirus, and the 



ISKANDER. 421 

retnm of Iskander to his countiy became each honr more 
urgent. Everything being prepared, the adventurers deter- 
milied on the fourth morning to attempt the rescue. They 
repaired as usual to the Serail, and were attended by Kaflis 
to the chamber of the tower, who congratulated Iskander 
on their way on the rapid convalescence of the captive. 
When they had fairly entered the chamber, the physician 
being somewhat in advance, Nicaeus, who was behind, com. 
menced proceedings by knocking down the eunuch, and 
Iskander instantly turning round to his assistance, they 
succeeded in gagging and binding the alarmed and aston* 
ished £[aflis. Iduna then habited herself in a costume 
exactly similar to that worn by Nicaeus, and which her 
friends had brought to her in their bag. Iskander and 
Iduna then immediately quitted the Serail without notice 
or suspicion, and hurried to the khan, where they mounted 
their horses, that were in readiness, and hastened without a 
moment's loss of time to a fountain without the gates, where 
they awaited the arrival of NicsBus with anxiety. After re- 
maining a few minutes in the chamber of the tower, the 
Prince of Athens stole out, taking care to secure the door 
upon Kaflis. He descended the staircase, and escaped 
through the Serail without meeting any one, and had 
nearly reached the gate of the gardens, when he was chal- 
lenged by some of the eunuch guard at a little distance. 

* Hilloa ! ' exclaimed one ; * I thought you passed just 
now?' 

* So I did,' replied Niceeus, with nervous eiBfrontery ; * but 
I came back for my bag, which I left behind,' and, giving 
them no time to reflect, he pushed his way through the gate 
with all the impudence of a page. He rushed through the 
burial-ground, hurried through the streets, mounted his 
horse, and galloped through the gates. Iskander and Iduna 
were in sight, he waved his hand for them at once to pro- 
ceed, and in a moment, without exchanging a word, they 



422 THE BISE OF 

were all galloping at full speed, nor did thej breathe their 
horses until sunset. 

By nightfall they had reached a small wood of chestnut- 
trees, where they rested for two hours, more for the sake of 
their steeds than their own refreshment, for anxiety pre- 
vented Iduma from indulging in any repose, as much as 
excitement prevented her from feeling any fatigue. Iskan- 
der lit a fire and prepared their rough meaJ, unharnessed 
the horses, and turned them out to their pasture. Nicffnu 
made Iduna a couch of fern, and supported her head, while, 
in deference to his entreaties, she endeavoured in vain to 
sleep. Before midnight they were again on their way, and 
proceeded at a rapid pace towards the mountains, until a 
few hours before noon, when their horses began to sink 
under the united influence of their previous exertions and 
the increasing heat of the day. Iskander looked serious, 
and ofben threw a backward glance in the direction of 
Adrianople. 

* We must be beyond pursuit,' said Nicaeus. ' I dare say 
poor Kaflis is still gagged and bound.' 

* Could we but reach the mountains,* replied his com- 
panion, ' I should have little fear, but I counted upon our 
steeds carrying us there without faltering. We cannot 
reckon upon more than three hours' start, prince. Our 
Mend Kaflis is too important a personage to be long 
missed.' 

* The Holy Virgin befriend us ! ' said the Lady Iduna. * I 
can urge my poor horse no more.' 

They had now ascended a small rising ground, which gave 
them a wide prospect over the plain. Iskander halted and 
threw an anxious glance around him. 

* There are some horsemen in the distance whom I do not 
like,' said the physician. 

* I see them,' said Niceeus ; * travellers like ourselves.' 
' Let us die sooner than be taken,' said Iduna. 



ISKANDER. 423 

* Move on,* said the physician, * and let me observe these 
horsemen alone. I would there were some forest at hand. 
In two hours we may gain the mountains.' 

The daughter of Hunniades and the Prince of Athens de- 
scended the rising ground. Before them, but at a consider- 
able distance, was a broad and rapid river, crossed by a 
ruinous Roman bridge. The opposite bank of the river was 
the termination of a narrow plain, which led immediately to 
the mountains. 

* Fair Iduna, you are safe,* said the Prince of Athens. 

* Dear Nicfleus,* replied his companion, * imagine what I 
feel. It is too wild a moment to express my gratitude.' 

* I trust that Iduna will never express her gratitude to 
Nic80us,' answered the prince ; * it is not, I assure you, 
a favourite word with him.' 

Their companion rejoined them, urging his wearied horse 
to its utmost speed. 

* NicflBus ! ' he called out, * halt ! ' 
They stopped their willing horses. 

*How now! my friend;' said the prince; *you look 
grave.' 

* Lady Iduna! ' said the Armenian, * we are pursued.' 
Hitherto the prospect of success, and the consciousness 

of the terrible destiny that awaited failure, had supported 
Iduna under exertions, which under any other circum- 
stances must have proved fatal. But to learn, at the very 
moment that she was congratulating herself on the felici- 
tous completion of their daring enterprise, that that 
dreaded failure was absolutely impending, demanded too 
great an exertion of her exhausted energies. She turned 
pale ; she lifted up her imploring hands and eyes to heaven 
in speechless agony, and then, bending down her head, 
wept with unrestrained and harrowing violence. The dis- 
tracted Nicaeus sprung from his horse, endeavoured to 
console the almost insensible Iduna, and then woefully 



424 THE RISE OF 

glancmg at his fellow adventurer, wrung his hands in des- 
pair. His fellow adventurer seemed lost in thought. 

' They come,' said Kicaeus, starting ; ^ methinks I see one 
on the brow of the hill. Away! fly! Let ns at least die 
fighting. Dear, dear Iduna, would that my 4ife could ran- 
som thine! God! this is indeed agony.' 

' Escape is impossible,' said Idxma, in a tone of calmness 
wliich astonished them. * They must overtake us. Alas! 
brave fiiends, I have brought ye to this ! Pardon me, par- 
don me ! I am ashamed of my selfish grief. Ascribe it to 
other causes than a narrow spirit and a weak mind. One 
course alone is left us. We must not be taken prisoners. 
Ye are warriors, and can die as such. I am only a woman, 
but I am the daughter of Hunniades. Nicsens, you are 
my father's Mend ; I beseech you sheathe your dagger in 
my breast.' 

The prince in silent agony pressed his hands to his sight 
His limbs quivered with terrible emotion. Suddenly he 
ad7anced and threw himself at the feet of his hitherto 
silent comrade. * Oh ! Iskander ! ' exclaimed NicsBus, * great 
and glorious fiiend ! my head and heart are both too weak 
for these awful trials ; save her, save her ! ' 

* Iskander!' exclaimed the thunderstruck Iduna. 'Is- 
kander ! ' 

* I have, indeed, the misfortune to be Iskander, beloved 
lady,' he replied. * This is, indeed, a case almost of des- 
peration, but if I have to endure more than most men, I 
have, to inspire me, influences which fall to the lot of few, 
yourself and Epirus. Come! NicsBus, there is but one 
chance, we must gain the bridge.' Thus speaking, Iskan- 
der caught Iduna in his arms, and remounting his steed, 
and followed by the Prince of Athens, hurried towards the 
river. 

'The water is not fordable,' said Iskander, when ther 
had arrived at its bank. * The bridge I shall defend ; and 



ISKANDER. 425 

it will go hard if I do not keep them at bay long enongh 
for you and Iduna to gain the mountains. Away ; think 
no more of me ; nay ! no tear, dear lady, or yon will un- 
man me. An inspiring smile, and all will go weU. Hasten 
to Croia, and let nothing tempt you to linger in the vicinity, 
with the hope of my again joining you. Believe me, we 
shall meet again, but act upon what I say, as if they were 
my dying words. Gk)d bless you, Nicaeus ! No murmuring. 
For once let the physician, indeed, command his page. 
Gentle lady, commend me to your father. Would I had 
such a daughter in Epirus, to head my trusty brethren if I 
fall. Tell the great Hunniades my legacy to him is my 
country. * Farewell, farewell ! ' 

* I will not say farewell ! ' exclaimed Iduna ; * I too can 
fight. I will stay and die with you.' 

* See they come 1 Believe me I shall conquer. Fly, fly, 
thou noble girl! Guard her well, Nicaeus. God bless thee, 
boy! Live and be happy. Nay, nay, not another word. 
The farther ye are both distant, trust me, the stronger will 
be my arm. Indeed, indeed, I do beseech ye, fly ! ' 

NicsBus placed the weeping Iduna in her saddle, and 
after leading her horse over the narrow and broken bridge, 
mounted his own, and then they ascended together the 
hilly and winding track. Iskander watched them as they 
went. Often Iduna waved her kerchief to her forlorn 
champion. In the meantime Iskander tore off his Arme- 
nian robes and flung them into the river, tried his footing 
on the position he had taken up, stretched his limbs, ex- 
amined his daggers, flourished his scimetar. 

The bridge would only permit a single rider to pass 
abreast. It was supported by three arches, the centre one 
of considerable size, the others small, and rising out of the 
shallow water on each side. In many parts the parapet wall 
was broken, in some even the pathway was almost impass- 
able from the masses of fallen stone, and the dangerous 



426 THE BISE OF 

fissures. In the centre of the middle arch was a huge key- 
stone, on which was scalptnred, in high relief^ an enor- 
mons hehnet, which indeed gave, among the people of the 
countrj, a title to the bridge. 

A band of horsemen dashed at fnll speed, with a loud 
shont-^ down the hill. They checked their horses, when to 
their astonishment they fonnd Iskander with his drawn 
scimetar, prepared to resist their passage. Bat they paused 
only for a moment, and immediately attempted to swim the 
river. But their exhausted horses drew back with a strong 
instinct from the rushing waters : one of the band alone, 
mounted on a magnificent black mare, sncceeding in his 
purpose. The rider was half-way in the stream, his high- 
bred steed snorting and struggling in the strong current 
Iskander, with the same ease as if he were plucking the 
ripe frxdt from a tree, took up a ponderous stone, and hurled 
it with fatal precision at his adventurous enemy. The rider 
shrieked and fell, and rose no more : the mare, relieved from 
her burden, exerted aU her failing energies, and succeeded 
in gaining the opposite bank. There, rolling herself in the 
welcome pasture, and neighing with a note of triumph, she 
revelled in her hard escape. 

* Cut down the Giaour ! ' exclaimed one of the horsemen, 
and he dashed at the bridge. His fragile blade shivered 
into a thousand pieces as it crossed the scimetar of Iskander, 
and in a moment his bleeding head fell over the parapet. 

Instantly the whole band, each emulous of revenging his 
comrades, rushed without thought at Iskander, and en- 
deavoured to overpower him by their irresistible charge. 
His scimetar flashed like lightning. The two foremost of 
his enemies fell, but the impulse of the numbers prevailed, 
and each instant, although dealing destruction with every 
blow, he felt himself losing ground. At length he was on the 
centre of the centre arch, an eminent position, which allowed 
him for a moment to keep them at bay, and gave him 



ISKA.NDEB. 427 

breathing tiine. Suddenly he made a desperate charge, clove 
the head of the leader of the band in two, and beat them back 
several yards ; then swiftly returning to his former position, 
he summoned aU his supernatural strength, and stamping 
on the mighty, but mouldering keystone, he forced it from 
its form, and broke the masonry of a thousand years. Amid 
a loud and awful shriek, horses and horsemen, and the 
dissolving fragments of the scene for a moment mingled as 
it were in airy chaos, and then plunged with a horrible 
plash into the fatal depths below. Some fell, and, stunned 
by the massy fragments, rose no more; others struggled 
again into light, and gained with difficulty their old shore. 
Amid them, Iskander, unhurt, swam like a river god, and 
stabbed to the heart the only strong swimmer that was 
making his way in the direction of Epinis. Drenched and ex- 
hausted, Iskander at length stood upon the opposite margin, 
and wrung his garments, while he watched the scene of 
strange destruction. 

Three or four exhausted wretches were lying bruised and 
breathless on the opposite bank : one drowned horse was 
stranded near them, caught by the rushes. Of all that 
brave company the rest had vanished, and the broad, and 
blue, and sunny waters rushed without a shadow beneath 
the two remaining arches. 

*Iduna! thou art safe,' exclaimed Iskander. *Now for 
Epirus ! * So saying, he seized the black mare, renovated 
by her bath and pasture, and vaulting on her back, was in 
a few minutes bounding over his native hills. 



428 THE RISE OF 



CHAPTER Xin. 

In the meantime let us not forget the Prince of AthenR and 
the Lady Idnna. These adventurous companions soon lost 
sight of their devoted champion, and entered a winding 
ravine, which gradually brought them to the summit of the 
first chain of the Epirot mountains. Prom it they looked 
down upon a vast and rocky valley, through which several 
mule tracks led in various directions, and entered the 
highest barrier of the mountains, which rose before them 
covered with forests of chestnut and ilex. Nicssus chose the 
track which he considered least tempting to pursuit, and 
towards sunset they had again entered a ravine washed by 
a mountain stream. The course of the waters had made 
the earth fertile and beautiful. Wild shrubs of gay and 
pleasant colours refreshed their wearied eye- sight, and the 
perfume of aromatic plants invigorated their jaded senses. 
Upon the bank of the river, too, a large cross of roughly- 
carved wood brought comfort to their Christian hearts, and 
while the holy emblem filled them with hope and consolation, 
and seemed an omen of refuge from their Moslemin op- 
pressors, a venerable Eremite, with a long white beard 
descending over his dark robes, and leaning on a staff of 
thorn, came forth from an adjoining cavern to breathe the 
evening air and pour forth his evening orisons. 

Iduna and Niceeus had hitherto prosecuted their sorrow- 
ful journey almost in silence. Exhausted with anxiety, 
affliction, and bodily fatigue, with difficulty the daughter of 
Hunniades could preserve her seat upon her steed. One 
thought alone interested her, and by its engrossing in- 
fluence maintained her under all her sufferings, the memory 
of Iskander. Since she first met him, at the extraordinaiy 
interview in her father's pavilion, often had the image of 



ISKANDER. 429 

the hero recurred to ber fancy, often had she mnsed over 
his great qualities and strange career. His fame, so dan- 
gerous to female hearts, was not diminished by his presence. 
And now, when Iduna recollected that she was indebted to 
him for all that she held dear, that she owed to his disin- 
terested devotion, not only life, but all that renders life 
desirable, honour and freedom, country and kindred, that 
image was invested with associations and with sentiments, 
which, had Iskander himself been conscious of their exist- 
ence, would have lent redoubled vigour to his arm, and 
fresh inspiration to his energy. More than once Iduna had 
been on the point of inquiring of NicsBus the reason which 
had induced alike him and Iskander to preserve so strictly 
the disguise of his companion. But a feeling which she 
did not choose to analyse, struggled successfully with her 
curiosity : she felt a reluctance to speak of Iskander to the 
Prince of Athens. In the meantime Nioseus himself was 
not apparently very anxious of conversing upon the sub- 
ject, and after the first rapid expressions of fear and hope 
as to the situation of their late comrade, they relapsed into 
silence, seldom broken by Nicasus, but to deplore the suffer- 
ings of his mistress, lamentations which Iduna answered 
with a faint smile. 

The refreshing scene wherein they had now entered, and 
the cheering appearance of the Eremite, were subjects of 
mutual congratulation ; and Nicasus, somewhat advancing, 
claimed the attention of the holy man, announcing their 
feith, imprisonment, escape, and sufferings, and entreating 
hospitality and refuge. The Eremite pointed with his 
staff to the winding path, which ascended the bank of the 
river to the cavern, and welcomed the pilgrims, in the 
name of their blessed Saviour, to his wild abode and simple 
fare. 

The cavern widened when they entered, and comprised 
several small apartments. It was a work of the early 



430 THE RISE OF 

Christians, who had fonnd a refuge in their days of pene- 
cution, and art had completed the beneficent design of 
nature. The cavern was fresh, and sweet, and clean. 
Heaven smiled upon its pious inmate through an aperture 
in the roof; the floor was covered with rushes; in one 
niche rested a brazen cross, and in another a perpetual 
lamp burnt before a picture, where Madonna smiled with 
meek tenderness upon her young divinity. 

The Eremite placed upon a block of wood, the surfisu^ of 
which he had himself smoothed, some honey, some dried 
fish, and a wooden bowl filled from the pure stream that 
flowed beneath them : a simple meal, but welcome. His 
guests seated themselves upon a rushy couch, and while 
they refreshed themselves, he gently inquired the history 
of their adventures. As it was evident that the Eremite, 
from her apparel, mistook the sex of Iduna, Nicseus thought 
fit not to undeceive him, but passed her off as his brother. 
He described themselves as two Athenian youths, who had 
been captured while serving as volunteers under the great 
Hunniades, and who had effected their escape from Adrian- 
ople under circumstances of great peril and difficulty ; and 
when he had gratified the Eremite's curiosity respecting 
their Christian brethren in Paynim lands, and sympatheti- 
cally marvelled with him at the advancing fortunes of the 
Crescent, Niceeus, who perceived that Iduna stood in great 
need of rest, mentioned the fatigues of his more fragile 
brother, and requested permission for him to retire. Where- 
upon the Eremite himself, fetching a load of fresh rushes, 
arranged them in one of the cells, and invited the fiur 
Iduna to repose. The daughter of Hunniades, first humb- 
ling herself before the altar of the Virgin, and offering her 
gratitude for all the late mercies vouchsafed unto her, and 
then bidding a word of peace to her host and her com- 
panion, withdi*ew to her hard-earned couch, and soon wts 
buried in a sleep as sweet and innocent as herself 



ISEANDEB. 431 

. But repose fell not upon tlie eye -lids of Nicaeas in spite 
of all his labonrs. The heart of the Athenian Prince was 
distracted by the two most powerfdl of passions, Love and 
Jealousy ; and when the Eremite, pointing out to his guestv 
his allotted resting-place, himself retired to his regular anct 
simple slumbers, Nicaeus quitted the cavern, and standing 
upon the bank of the river, gazed in abstraction upon the 
rushing waters foaming in the moonlight. The Prince of 
Athens, with many admirable qualities, was one of those 
men who are influenced only by their passions, and who, in 
the aflairs of life, are invariably guided by their imagination 
instead of their reason. At present aU thought and feeling, 
all considerations, and all circumstances, merged in the 
overpowering love he entertained for Iduna, his determina- 
tion to obtain her at all cost and peril, and his resolution 
that she should never again meet Iskander, except as the 
wife of NicBBus. Compared with this paramount object, the 
future seemed to vanish. The emancipation of his country, 
the welfare of his friend, even the maintenance of his holy 
creed, all those great and noble objects for which, under 
other circumstances, he would have been prepared to sacri- 
fice his fortune and his life, no longer interested or influ- 
enced him ; and while the legions of the Crescent were on 
the point of pouring into Greece to crush that patriotic and 
Christian cause over which Iskander and himself had so 
often mused, whose interests the disinterested absence of 
Iskander, occasioned solely by his devotion to Mcseus, had 
certainly endangered, and perhaps, could the events of the 
last few hours be known, even sacrificed, the Prince of 
Athens resolved, unless Iduna would consetit to become his, 
at once to carry off' the daughter of Hunniades to some 
distant country. Nor indeed, even with his easily excited 
vanity, was Nicasus sanguine of obtaining his purpose by less 
violent means. He was already a rejected suitor, and under 
circumstanoes whiah SoanM^lMd left hope. Nothing but the 



Ss^i; 



432 THE RISE OF 

sole credit of her cliivalric rescue could perhaps have ob- 
tained for him the interest in the heart of Iduna which he 
coveted. For while this exploit proffered an irresistible 
claim to her deepest gratitude, it indicated also, on the part 
of her dehverer, the presence and possession of all those 
great qualities, the absence of which in the character and 
conduct of her suitor, Iduna had not, at a fonner period, en- 
deavoured to conceal to be the principal cause of his rejec- 
tion. And now, by the unhappy course of circumstancea, 
the very deed on which he counted, with sanguine hope, as 
the sure means of his success, seemed as it were to have 
placed him in a still inferior situation than before. The 
constant society of his mistress had fanned to ^ its former 
force and ardour the flame which, apart firom her and 
hopeless, he had endeavoured to repress; while, on the 
other hand, he could not conceal from himself, that Idnna 
must feel that he had played in these great proceedings but 
a secondary part ; that all the genius and all the generosity 
of the exploit rested with Iskander, who, after having ob- 
tained her freedom by so much energy, peril, sagacity and 
skill, had secured it by a devoted courage which might 
shame all the knights of Christendom ; perhaps, too, had 
secured it by his own life. 

What if Iskander were no more ? It was a great contin- 
gency. The eternal servitude of Greece, and the shameftil 
triumph of the Crescent, were involved, perhaps, in that 
single event. And could the possession of Iduna compen- 
sate for such disgrace and infamy? Let us not record the 
wild response of passion. 

It was midnight ere the restless Niceeus, more exhausted 
by his agitating reverie than by his previous exertions, re- 
turned into the cavern, and found refuge in sleep from all 
his disquietudes. 



ISEAKDEB. 433 



CHAPTER XIV. 

The Eremite rose with the sun ; and while he was yet at 
matins, was joined by Idnna, refreshed and cheerful after 
her unusual slumbers. After performing their devotions, 
her venerable host proposed that they should go forth and 
enjoy the morning air. So, descending the precipitous 
bank of the river, he led the way to a small glen, the bed 
of a tributary rivulet, now nearly exhausted. Beautiful 
clumps of birch-trees, and tall thin poplars, rose on each 
side among the rocks, which were covered with bright 
mosses, and parasitical plants of gay and various colours. 
One side of the glen was touched with the golden and 
grateful beams of the rising sun, and the other was in deep 
shadow. 

' Here you can enjoy nature and freedom in security ; ' 
said the Eremite, *for your enemies, if they have not 
already given up their pursuit, will scarcely search this 
sweet soHtude.' 

* It is indeed sweet, holy feither,' said Iduna ; ' but the 
captive, who has escaped from captivity, can alone feel all 
its sweetness.' 

* It is true,' said the Eremite ; * I also have been a 
captive.' 

* Indeed ! holy father. To the Infidels ? ' 

* To the Infidels, gentle pilgrim.' 

* Have you been at Adrianople ? ' 

* My oppressors were not the Paynim,' replied the Ere- 
mite, * but they were enemies far more dire, my own evil 
passions. Time was when my eye sparkled like thine, 
gentle pilgrim, and my heart was not as pure.' 

* God is merciful,' said Iduna, * and without His aid, the 
strongest are but shadows.' 

F F 



434 THE BISE OF 

* Ever tliink so,' replied the Eremite, ' and you will 
deserve rather His love than His mercy. Thirty long years 
have I spent in this soHtnde, meditating upon the past, 
and it is a theme yet fertile in instruction. My hours are 
never heavy, and memory is to me what action is to other 
men.' 

* You have seen much, holy &.ther ? ' 

*And felt more. Yet you will perhaps think tlie result 
of all my experience very slight, for I can only say unto 
thee, trust not in thyself.' 

' It is a great truth,' remarked Iduna, ' and leads to a 
higher one.' 

* Even so,' replied the Eremite. * We are full of wisdom 
in old age, as in winter this river is fall of w^ter, but the 
fire of youth, like the summer sun, dries up the stream.' 

Iduna did not reply. The Eremite attracted her atten- 
tion to a patch of cresses on the opposite bank of the 
stream. * Every morning I rise only to discover firesh 
instances of omnipotent benevolence,' he exclaimed. 'Yes- 
terday ye tasted my honey and my fish. To-day I can 
offer ye a fresh dainty. "We will break our fast in this 
pleasant glen. !Rest thou here, gentle youth, and I will 
summon thy brother to our meal. I fear me much he does 
not bear so contented a spirit as thyself.' 

* He is older, and has seen more,' replied Iduna. 

The Eremite shook his head, and leaning on his BtaS, 
returned to the cavern. Iduna remained, seated on t 
mossy rock, listening to the awakening birds, and musing 
over the fate of Iskander. While she was indulging in this 
reverie, her name was called. She looked up with a blush, 
and beheld Niceeus. 

* How fares my gentle comrade ? ' inquired the Prince of 
Athens. 

' As well as I hope you are, dear ITicssus. We have bees 
indeed fortunate in finding so kind a host.* 



ISKANDEB. 435 

* I think I may bow congratulate you on your safety,* 
said the Prince. * This unfrequented pass will lead us in 
two days to Epirus, nor do I indeed now fear pursuit.* 

* Acts and not words must express in future how much 
we owe to you/ said Iduna. * My joy would be complete 
if my father only knew of our safeiy, and if our late com- 
panion were here to share it.* 

* Fear not for my friend,' replied ITicsaus. * I have faith 
in the fortune of Iskander.* 

' If any one could succeed under such circumstances, he 
doubtless is the man,' rejoined Iduna ; * but it was indeed 
an awfdl crisis in his &te.* 

* Trust me, dear lady, it is wise to banish gloomy 
thoughts.' 

* We can give him only our thoughts,' said Iduna, * and 
when we remember how much is dependent on .his life, 
can they be cheerftd ? ' 

* Mine must be so, when I am in the presence of Iduna,* 
replied Nicaeus. 

The daughter of Hunniades gathered moss from the rock, 
and threw it into the stream. 

* Dear lady,* said the Prince of Athens, seating himself 
by her side, and stealing her gentle hand. * Pardon me, if 
an irrepressible feeling at this moment impels me to recur 
to a subject, which, I would fain hope, were not so un- 
pleasing to you, as once unhappily you deemed it. O ! 
Iduna, best and dearest, we are once more together ; once 
more I gaze upon that unrivalled form, and listen to the 
music of that matchless voice. I sought you, I perhaps 
violated my pledge, but I sought you in captivity and sor- 
row. Pardon me, pity me, Iduna ! O ! Iduna, if possible, 
love me ! ' 

She turned away her head, she turned away her stream- 
ing eyes. ' It is impossible not to love my deliverer,* she 

replied, in a low and tremnIouA Toioe, ' even could he not 

vr 3 



^ 



436 THE RISE OF 

prefer tlie many other claims to affection which are pos- 
sessed by the Prince of Athens. I was not prepared fiw 
this renewal of a painfnl subject, perhaps not under any 
circomstances, but least of all nnder those in which we now 
find ourselves.^ 

' Alas ! ' exclaimed the prince, * I can no longer control 
my passion. My life, not my happiness merely, depends 
npon Iduna becoming mine. Bear with me, beloved, bear 
with me ! "Were you Nicsens, you too would need forgive- 
ness.' 

* I beseech you, cease ! ' exclaimed Iduna, in a firmer 
voice; and, withdrawing her hand, she suddenly rose. 
* This is neither the time nor place for such, conversation. 
I have not forgotten that, but a few days back, I was a 
hopeless captive, and that my life and fe;me are even now 
in danger. Great mercies have been vouchsafed to me; 
but still I perhaps need the hourly interposition of heavenlj 
aid. Other than such worldly thoughts should fill my 
mind, and do. Dear Nicseus,' she continued, in a soothing 
tone, ' you have nobly commenced a most heroic enterprise : 
fulfil it in like spirit.' 

He would have replied ; but at this moment the staff of 
the Eremite sounded among the rocks. Baffled, and dark 
with rage and passibn, the Prince of Athens quitted Iduna, 
and strolled towards the upper part of the glen, to conceal 
his anger and disappointment. 

* Eat, gentle youth,' said the Eremite. * Will not thy 
brother join us ? What may be his name ? * 

* NicBBus, holy father.' 
^And thine ? ' 

Iduna blushed and hesitated. At length, in her con- 
fusion, she replied, ' Iskander.' 

* Nicseus ! ^ called out the Eremite, * Iskander and myself 
await thee 1 ^ 

Iduna trembled. She was agreeably surprised when the 



ISKANDER. 437 

prince returned with a smiling countenance, and joined in 
the DaeaJ, with many cheerful words. 

* Now, I propose,' said the Eremite, ' that yonrself and 
yonr brother Iskander should tarry with me some days, if, 
indeed, my simple fare have any temptation.' 

*I thank thee, holy father,* replied Nicjaeus, *bat onr 
afiairs are urgent ; nor indeed conld I have tarried here at 
all, had it not been for my yonng Iskander here, who, as 
you may easily believe, is little accustomed to his late ex- 
ertions. But, indeed, towards sunset, we must proceed.' 

' Bearing with us,' added Iduna, * a most grateful recol- 
lection of our host.' 

* God be with ye, wherever ye may proceed,' replied the 
Eremite. 

* My trust is indeed in Him,' rejoined Iduna. 



CHAPTER XV. 



And so, two hours before sunset, mounting their refreshed 
horses, Nicasus and Iduna quitted, with many kind words, 
the cavern of the Eremite, and took their way along the 
winding bank of the river. Throughout the moonlit night 
they travelled, ascending the last and highest chain of 
mountains, and reaching the summit by dawn. The cheer- 
ful light of morning revealed to them the happy plains of 
a Christian country. With joyful spirits they descended 
into the fertile land, and stopped at a beautiful Greek 
village, embowered in orchards and groves of olive-trees. 

The Prince of Athens instantly inquired for the Primate, 
or chief personage of the village, and was conducted to 
his house ; but its master, he was informed, was without, 
supervising the commencement of the vintage. Leaving 
Iduna with the family of the Primate, Nicasus went in 



438 THE msE OF 

search of him. The vinejard was fall of groups, busied in 
the most elegant and joyous of human occupations, gather- 
ing, with infinite bursts of merriment, the harvest of the 
vine. Some mounted on ladders, fixed against the festoon- 
ing branches, plucked the rich bunches, and threw them 
below, where girls, singing in chorus, caught them in 
panniers, or their extended drapery. In the centre of the 
vineyard, a middle-aged man watched with a calm, but 
vigilant eye, the whole proceedings, and occasionally 
stimulated the indolent, or prompted the inexperienced. 

' Christo ! ' said the Prince of Athens, when he had ap- 
proached him. The Primate turned round, but evidently 
did not immediately recognise the person who addressed 
him. 

* I see,' continued the prince, ' that my meditated caution 
was unnecessary. My strange garb is a sufiicient disguise.* 

* The Prince Niceeus ! ' exclaimed the Primate. * He is, 
indeed, disguised, bufc will, I am sure, pardon his faithful 
servant.* 

' Not a word, Christo ! ' repHed the prince. * To be brief, 
I have crossed the mountains from Boumelia, and have 
only within this hour recognised the spot whither I have 
chanced to arrive. I have a companion with me. I would 
not be known. You comprehend ? Affairs of state. I take 
it for granted that there are none here who will recognise 
me, after three years' absence, in this dress.' 

* You may feel secure, my lord,' replied Christo. * If you 
puzzled me, who have known you since you were no bigger 
than this bunch of grapes, you will quite confound the rest/ 

* 'Tis well. I shall stay here a day or two, in order to 
give them an opportunity to prepare for my reception. In 
the meantime, it is necessary to send on a courier at once. 
You must manage all this for me, Christo. How are your 
daughters ? ' 

* So, so, please your highness,' replied Christo. *A man 



ISEANDER. 489 

with seyen daaghters lias got trouble for eyery day in the 
week.' 

* But not when they are so pretty as yours are ! ' 

' Poh ! poh ! handsome is that handsome does ; and as for 
Alexina, she wants to be married.' 

*Very natural. Let her marry, by all means.' 

* But Helena wants to do the same.' 

* More natural still ; for, if possible, she is prettier. For 
my part, I could marry them both.' 

* Ay, ay ! that is all very well ; but handsome is that hand- 
some does. I have no objection to Alexina marrying, and 
even Helena ; but then there is Lais ' 

* Hah ! hah ! hah ! ' exclaimed the prince. * I see, my dear 
Christo, that my foster sisters give you a very proper portion 
of trouble. However, I must be off to my travelling com- 
panion. Come in as soon as you can, my dear fellow, and 
we will settle everything. A good vintage to you, and 
only as much mischief as necessary.' So saying, the prince 
tripped away. 

* Well ! who would have thought of seeing him here ! ' 
exclaimed the worthy Primate. * The same gay dog as ever ! 
What can he have been doing in Roiimelia? Affairs of 
state, indeed ! I'll wager my new Epiphany scarf, that, 
whatever the affairs are, there is a pretty girl in the case.' 



CHAPTER XVL 



The fair Iduna, after all her perils and sufferings, was at 
length sheltered in safety under a kind and domestic roof. 
Alexina, and Helena, and Lais, and all the other sisters 
emulated each other in the attentions which they lavished 
upon the two brothers, but especially the youngest. Their 
kindness, indeed, was only equalled by their ceaseless 
curiosity, and had they ever waited for the answers of 



440 THE msE OF 

Iduna to their questions, the daughter of Hnnniades might, 
perhaps, have been somewhat puzzled to reconcile her re- 
sponses with probability. Helena answered the questions 
of Alexina : Lais anticipated eyen Helena. AH that Idnna 
had to do was to smile and be silent, and it was universally 
agreed that Iskander was singularly shy as well as exces- 
sively handsome. In the meantime, when Nicaeus met Idnna 
in the evening of the second day of their visit, he informed 
her that he had been so fortunate as to resume an ac- 
quaintance with an old companion in arms in the person of 
a neighbouring noble, who had invited them to rest at his 
castle at the end of their next day's journey. He told her 
likewise that he had despatched a courier to Croia to enquire 
after Iskander, who, he expected, in the course of a very few 
days, would bring them intelligence to guide their fatnre 
movements, and decide whether they should at once pro- 
ceed to the capital of Epirus, or advance into Bulgaria, in 
case Hnnniades was still in the field. On the morrow, 
therefore, they proceeded on their journey. Nicssus had 
procured a Htter for Iduna, for which her delicate health 
was an excuse to Alexina and her sisters, and they were 
attended by a small body of well-armed cavalry, for, ac- 
cording to the accounts which Niceeus had received, the 
country was still disturbed. They departed at break of 
day, NicBBus riding by the side of the Htter, and occasion- 
ally making anxious inquiries after the well-being of his 
fair charge. An hour after noon they rested at a well, sur- 
rounded by olive-trees, until the extreme heat was some- 
what allayed; and then remounting, proceeded in the 
direction of an undulating ridge of green hills, that pai^ 
tially intersected the wide plain. Towards sunset the Prince 
of Athens withdrew the curtains of the Htter, and called the 
attention of Iduna to a very fair castle, rising on a fertile 
eminence, and sparkling in the quivering beams of dying 
Hght. 



ISEAKDEE. 441 

*I fear,' said NicsBus, *that my friend Justinian will 
scarcely have returned, but we are old comrades, and he 
desired me to act as his seneschal. For your sake I am 
sorry, Iduna, for I feel convinced that he would please you.' 

' It is, indeed, a fair castle,' repHed Iduna, * and none but 
a true knight deserves such a noble residence.' 

While she spoke the commander of the escort sounded 
his bugle, and they commenced the ascent of the steep, a 
winding road, cut through a thick wood of evergreen shrubs. 
The gradual and easy ascent soon brought them to a portal 
flanked with towers, which admitted them into the out- 
works of the fortification. Here they found several soldiers 
on guard, and the commander again sounding his bugle, 
the gates of the castle opened, and the seneschal, attended 
by a suite of many domestics, advanced and welcomed 
NicsBus and Iduna. The Prince of Athens dismounting, 
assisted his fair companion from the litter, and leading her 
by the hand, and preceded by the seneschal, entered the 
castle. 

They passed through a magnificent hall, hung with choice 
armour, and ascending a staircase of Pentelic marble, were 
ushered into a suite of lofty chambers, lined with Oriental 
tapestry, and furnished with many costly couches and 
cabinets. While they admired a spectacle so different to 
anything they had recently beheld or experienced, the 
seneschal, followed by a number of slaves in splendid 
attire, advanced and offered them rare and choice refresh- 
ments, coffee and confectionery, sherbets and spiced wines. 
When they had partaken of this elegant cheer, NicsBus inti- 
mated to the seneschal that the Lady Iduna might probably 
wish to retire, and instantly a discreet matron, followed by 
six beautiful girls, each bearing a ^grant torch of cin- 
namon and roses, advanced and offered to conduct the Lady 
Iduna to her apartments. 

The matron and her company of maidens conducted the 



442 THE RISE OF 

daughter of Hunniades down a long gallery, which led to a 
suite of the prettiest chambers in the world. The first was 
an antechamber, painted like a bower, but filled with the 
music of living birds ; the second, which was much larger, 
was entirely covered with Venetian mirrors, and resting 
on a bright Persian carpet were many couches of crimson 
velvet, covered with a variety of sumptuous dresses ; the 
third room was a bath, made in the semblance of a gigantic 
shell. Its roof was of transparent alabaster, glowing with 
shadowy light. 



CHAPTER XVn. 



A FLOURISH of trumpets announced the return of the Lady 
Iduna; and the Prince of Athens, magnificently attired, 
came forward with a smile, and led her, with a compliment 
on her resuming the dress of her sex, if not of her country, 
to the banquet. Iduna was not uninfluenced by that ex- 
citement which is insensibly produced by a sudden change 
of scene and circumstances, and especially by an unexpected 
transition from hardship, peril, and suffering, to luxury, 
security and enjoyment. Their spirits were elevated and 
gay ; she smiled upon Nicaeus with a cheerful sympathy. 
They feasted, they listened to sweet music, they talked over 
their late adventures, and, animated by their own enjoyment, 
they became more sanguine as to the fate of Iskander. 

' In two or three days we shall know more,' said Nicaeus. 
* In the meantime, rest is absolutely necessary to you. It 
is only now that you will begin to be sensible of the exer- 
tion you have made. If Iskander be at Croia, he has 
already informed your father of your escape ; if he have 
not arrived, I have arranged that a courier shall be des- 
patched to Hunniades from that city. Do not be anxions. 



^ 



ISKANDER. 443 

Try to be happy. I am myself sanguine that you will find 
all well. Come, pledge me your fiskther's health, fair lady, 
in this goblet of Tenedos ! ' 

* How know I that at this moment he may not be at the 
point of death,' replied Iduna. * When I am absent from 
those I love, I dream only of their unhappiness.* 

* At this moment also,' rejoined . Nicaeus, * he dreams 
perhaps of your imprisonment among barbarians. Yet how 
mistaken ! Let that consideration support you. Come ! 
here is to the Eremite.' 

* As willing, if not as sumptuous, a host as our present 
one,' said Iduna; ' and when, by-the-bye, do you think that 
your friend, the Lord Justinian, will arrive ? ' 

*0h! never mind him,' said Nicseus. 'He would have 
arrived to-morrow, but the great news which I gave him 
has probably changed his plans. I told him of the ap- 
proaching invasion, and he has perhaps found it necessary 
to visit the neighbouring chieftains, or even to go on to 
Croia.' 

* Well-a-day ! ' exclaimed Iduna, * I would wo were in 
my father's camp ! ' 

' We shall soon be there, dear lady,' replied the Prince. 
* Come, worthy seneschal,' he added, turning to that 
functionary, ' drink to this noble lady's happy meeting 
with her friends.' 



CHAPTER XVIII. 



Thbeb or four days passed away at the castle of Justinian, 
in which Nicaeus used his utmost exertions to divert the 
anxiety of Iduna. One day was spent in examining the 
castle, on another he amused her with a hawking party, on 
a third he carried her to the iieighbom|||||^||||||||^ a 
temple, and read his favourite uSlschy] 




444 THE msE OF 

lone and elegant columns. It was impossible for any one to 
be more amiable and entertaining, and Idona conld not 
resist recognising his many virtues and accomplislmientB. 
The courier had not yet returned from Croia^ which Nieaeus 
accounted for by many satisfactory reasons. The suspense^ 
however, at length became so painful to Iduna, that she 
proposed to the Prince of Athens that they should, without 
further delay, proceed to that city. As usual, Nicseus was 
not wanting in many plausible arguments in favour of 
their remaining at the castle, but Iduna was resolute. 

' Indeed, dear Kicseus,' she said, * my anxiety to see mj 
father, or hear from him, is so great, that there is scarcelT^ 
any danger which I would not encounter to gratify my 
wish. I feel that I have already taxed your endurance too 
much. But we are no longer in a hostile land, and guards 
and guides are to be engaged. Let me then depart 
alone ! ' 

* Iduna ! ' exclaimed NicaBus, reproachfully. * Alas ! 
Iduna, you are cruel, but I did not expect this ! ' 

* Dear Nicaeus ! ' she answered, ' you always misinterpret 
me ! It would infinitely delight me to be restored to 
Hunniades by yourself, but these are no common times, 
and you are no common person. You forget that there is 
one that has greater claims upon you even than a forlorn 
maiden, your country. And whether Iskander be at Croia 
or not, Greece requires the presence and exertions of the 
Prince of Athens,' 

' I have no country,' replied NicaBjis, mournfully, * and 
no object for which to exert myself.' 

* NicflBus ! Is this the poetic patriot who was yesterday 
envying Themistocles ? ' 

* Alas ! Iduna, yesterday you were my muse. I do not 
wonder you are wearied of this castle,' continued the prince 
in a melancholy tone. * This spot contains nothing to in- 
terest you; but for me, it holds all that is dear, and, 0! 



ISKANDER. 445 

gentle maiden, one smile j^m you, one smile of inspiration, 
and I would not envy Themistocles, and might perhaps 
rival him.' 

They were walking together in the- hall of the castle ; 
Iduna stepped aside and affected to examine a curious 
buckler, Mcsbus followed her, and placing his arm gently 
in hers, led her away. 

* Dearest Iduna,' he said, * pardon me, but men struggle 
for their fate. Mine is in your power. It is a contest be- 
tween misery and happiness, glory and perhaps infamy. 
Do not then wonder that I will not yield my chance of the 
brighter fortune without an effort. Once more I appeal to 
your pity, if not to your love. Were Iduna mine, were she 
to hold out but the possibility of her being mine, there is 
no career, solemnly I avow what solemnly I feel, there is no 
career of which I could not be capable, and, no condition to 
which I would not willingly subscribe. But this certainty, 
or this contingency, I must have : I cannot exist without 
the alternative. And now, upon my knees, I implore her 
to grant it to me ! ' • 

^Mcaeus,' said Iduna, *this contijlued recurrence to a 
forbidden subject is most ungenerous.' 

* Alas ! Iduna, my life depends upon a word, which you 
will not speak, and you talk of generosity. No ! Iduna, it 
is not I that am ungenerous.' 

* Let me say then unreasonable. Prince Nicseus.' 

* Say what you like, Iduna, provided that you say that 
you are mine.' 

* Pardon me, sir, I am free.' 

* Free ! Tou have ever underrated me, Iduna. To whom 
do you owe this boasted freedom ? ' 

* This is not the first time,' remarked Iduna, * that you 
have reminded me of an obligation, the memory of which 
is indelibly impressed upon my heart, and for which even 
the present conversation cannot make me feel less grateful. 



446 THE BISE OF 

I can never forget that I owe all that is dear to yourself 
and your companion.' 

' My companion ! * replied the Prince of Athens, pale and 
passionate. * My companion ! Am I ever to be reminded 
of my companion ? ' 

* NicflBus ! ' said Iduna ; * if you forget what is due to me, 
at least endeavour to remember what is due to yourself?' 

* Beautiful being ! ' said the prince, advancing and pas- 
sionately seizing her hand ; ' pardon me ! pardon me ! I am 
not master of my reason ! I am nothing, I am nothing whik 
Iduna hesitates ! ' 

* She does not hesitate, Nicaeus. I desire, I require, that 
this conversation shall cease; shall never, never be re- 
newed.' 

* And I tell thee, haughty woman,* said the Prince of 
Athens, grinding his teeth, and speaking with violent 
action, ' that I will no longer be despised with impunity. 
Iduna is mine, or is no one else's.' 

* Is it possible ? ' exclaimed the daughter of Hunniades. 
* Is it, indeed, come to this ? But why am I surprised ? 
I have long known Nicseus. I quit this castle instantly.' 

*You are a prisoner,' replied the prince calmly, and 
leaning with folded arms against the wall. 

*A prisoner!' exclaimed Iduna, a Httle alarmed. *A 
prisoner! I defy yoo, sir. You are only a guest like 
myself. I will appeal to the seneschal in the absence of 
his lord. He will never permit the honour of his master's 
flag to be violated by the irrational caprice of a passionate 
boy.' 

' What lord ? ' inquired NicsBus. 

* Your friend, the Lord Justinian,* answered Iduna. * He 
could little anticipate such an abuse of his hospitality.' 

* My friend, the Lord Justinian ! ' replied Nicaeus, with a 
malignant smile. * I am surprised that a personage of the 
Lady Iduna's dear discrimination should so easily be de- 



ISEANDEB. 447 

oeived by "a passionate boy! " Is it possible that you 
conld have supposed for a moment that there was any other 
lord of this castle save your devoted slave ? ' 

* What ! ' exclaimed Iduna, really frightened. 

* I have, indeed, the honour of finding the Lady Iduna 
my guest,' continued Nicaeus, in a tone of bitter railery. 
* This castle of Kallista, the fairest in all Epirus, I inherit 
from my mother. Of late I have seldom visited it ; but, 
indeed, it will become a favourite residence of mine, if it 
be, as I anticipate, the scene of my nuptial ceremony.' 

Iduna looked around her with astonishment, then threw 
herself upon a couch, and burst into tears. The Prince of 
Athens walked up and down the hall with an air of deter- 
mined coolness. 

* Perfidious ! ' exclaimed Iduna between her sobs. 

* Lady Iduna,' said the prince, and he seated himself by 
her side, * I will not attempt to palliate a deception which 
your charms could alone inspire and can alone justify. 
Hear me, Lady Iduna, hear me with calmness. I love you ; 
I love you with a passion which has been as constant as it 
is strong. My birth, my rank, my fortunes, do not dis- 
qualify me for an union with the daughter of the great 
Hunniades. If my personal claims may sink in comparison 
with her surpassing excellence, I am yet to learn that any 
other prince in Christendom can urge a more effective plea. 
I am young ; the ladies of the court have called me hand- 
some ; by your great father's side I have broken some lances 
in your honour ; and even Iduna once confessed she thouglit 
me clever. Come, come, be merciful ! Let my beautiful 
Athens receive a fitting mistress ! A holy father is in 
readiness, dear maiden. Come now, one smile ! In a few 
days we shall reach your father's camp, and then we will 
kneel, as I do now, and beg a blessing on our happy union.* 
As he spoke, he dropped upon his knee, and stealing her 
hand^ looked into her face. It was sorrowful and gloomy. 



448 THE RISE OF 

' It is in vam, Niceeus,' said Idnna, * to appeal to your 
generosity ; it is useless to talk of the past ; it is idle to 
reproach yon for the present. I am a woman, alone and 
persecuted, where I could least anticipate persecution. 
Nic8Bus, I never can be yours ; and now I deliver myself to 
the mercy of Almighty God.' 

* 'Tis well,' said Nic€Bus. * From the tower of the castle you 
may behold the waves of the Ionian Sea. You will renuun 
here a close prisoner, until one of my galleys arrivesf rom 
Piraeus to bear us to Italy. Mine you must be, Iduna. It 
remains for you to decide under what circumstances. Con- 
tinue in your obstinacy, and you may bid farewell for ever 
to your country and to your father. Be reasonable, and a 
destiny awaits you, which offers everything that has hitherto 
been considered the source or cause of happiness.' Thus 
speaking, the prince retired, leaving the Lady Idnna to her 
own unhappy thoughts. 



CHAPTER XIX. 



The Lady Iduna was at first inclined to view the conduct 
of the Prince of Athens, as one of those passionate and 
passing ebuUitions in which her long acquaintance with him 
had taught her he was accustomed to indulge. But when 
on retiring soon after to her apartments, she was informed 
by her attendant matron that she must in future consider 
herself a prisoner, and not venture again to quit them 
without permission, she began to tremble at the possible 
violence of an ill-regulated mind. She endeavoured to 
interest her attendant in her behalf ; but the matron was 
too well schooled to evince any feeling or express any 
opinion on the subject ; and indeed, at length, fisdrly in- 
formed Iduna that she was commanded to confine het 
conversation to the duties of her office. 



ISKANDEE. 449 

The Lady Iduna was very unliappy.- She thought of her 
father, she thought of Iskauder. The past seemed a dream; 
she was often tempted to believe that she was still, and 
had ever been, a prisoner in the Serail of Adrianople ; and 
that all the late wonderful incidents of her life were but 
the shifting scenes of some wild slumber. And then some 
slight incident, the sound ©f a bell, or the sight of some 
holy emblem, assured her she was in a Christian land, and 
convinced her of the strange truth that she was indeed m 
captivity, and a prisoner, above all others, to the fond 
companion of her youth. Her indignation at the conduct 
of Niceeus roused her courage ; she resolved to make an 
eflfort to escape. Her rooms were only lighted from above ; 
she determined to steal forth at night into the gallery ; the 
door was secured. She hastened back to her chamber in 
fear and sorrow, and wept. 

Twice in the course of the day the stem and silent 
matron visited Iduna with her food ; and as she retired, 
secured the door. This was the only individual that the 
imprisoned lady ever beheld. And thus heavily rolled on 
upwards of a week. On the eve of the ninth day, Iduna 
was surprised by the matron presenting her a letter as she 
quitted the chamber for the night. Iduna seized it with 
a feeling of curiosity not unmixed with pleasure. It was 
the only incident that had occurred during her captivity. 
She recognised the handwriting of NicaBus, and threw it 
down with vexation at her silliness in supposing, for a 
moment, that the matron could have been the emissary of 
any other person. 

Yet the lett;er must be read, and at length she opened it. 
It informed her that a ship had arrived from Athens at the 
coast, and that to-morrow she must depart for Italy. It 
told her also, that the Turks, under Mahomed, had invaded 
Albania ; and that the Hungarians, under the command of 
her father, had come to support the Cross. It said nothing 

00 



450 THE KISB OF 

of Iskander. Bat it reminded her that little more than the 
same time that would carry her to the coast to embark for 
a foreign land, would, were she wise, alike enable Nicasns 
to place her in her father's arms, and aUow him to join in 
the great struggle for his country and his creed. The 
letter was written with firmness, but tenderly. It left, 
however, on the mind of Iduna an impression of the des- 
perate resolution of the writer. 

Now it so happened, that as this unhappy lady jumped 
from her couch, and paced the room in the perturbation of 
her mind, the wind of her drapery extinguished her lamp. 
As her attendant, or visitor, had paid her IjEist visit for the 
day, there seemed little chance of its being again illumined. 
The miserable are always more unhappy in the dark. Light 
is the greatest of comforters. And so this little misfortune 
seemed to the forlorn Iduna almost overwhelming. And 
as she attempted to look around, and wrung her hands in 
very woe, her attention was attracted by a brilliant streak 
of light upon the wall, which greatly surprised her. She 
groped her way in its direction, and slowly stretching forth 
her hand, observed that it made its way through a chink in 
the firame of one of the great mirrors which were inlaid in 
the wall. And as she pressed the frame, she felt to her 
surprise that it sprang forward. Had she not been very 
cautious the advancing mirror would have struck her with 
great force, but she had presence of mind to withdraw her 
hand very gradually, repressing the swiftness of the spring. 
The aperture occasioned by the opening of the mirror 
consisted of a recess, formed by a closed-up window. An 
old wooden shutter, or blind, in so ruinous a state, that the 
light freely made its way, was the only barrier against the 
elements. Iduna, seizing' the handle which remained, at 
once drew it open with little difficulty. 

The captive gazed with gladdened feelings upon the free 
and beautifdl scene. Beneath her rose the rich and aro- 



ISKANDER. 451 

matic shrubs tinged with the soft and silver light of eve : 
before her extended the wide and fertile champaign, skirted 
by the dark and undulating mountains : in the clear sky, 
glittering and sharp, sparkled the first crescent of the new 
moon, an auspicious omen to the Moslemin invaders. 

Iduna gazed with joy upon the landscape, and then 
hastily descending from the recess, she placed her hands to 
her eyes, so long unaccustomed to the light. Perhaps, 
too, she indulged in momentary meditation. For suddenly 
seizing a number of shawls which were lying on one of the 
couches, she knotted them together, and then, striving with 
all her force, she placed the heaviest couch on one end 
of the costly cord, and then throwing the other out of the 
window, and entrusting herself to the merciftil care of the 
holy Virgin, the brave daughter of Hunniades successfully 
dropped down into the garden below. 

She stopped to breathe, and to revel in her emancipated 
existence. It was a bold enterprise gallantly achieved. 
But the danger had now only commenced. She found that 
she had alighted at the back of the castle. She stole along 
upon tip-toe, timid as a fawn. She remembered a small 
wicket-gate that led into the open country. She arrived 
&t the gate. It was of course guarded. The single sentinel 
was kneeling before an image of St. George, beside him 
was an empty drinking-cup and an exhausted wine-skin. 

* Holy Saint ! ' exclaimed the pious sentinel, ' preserve us 
from all Turkish infidels ! ' Iduna stole behind him. * Shall 
men who drink no wine conquer true Christians ! ' con- 
tinued the sentinel. Iduna placed her hand upon the lock. 
* We thank thee for our good vintage,' said the sentinel. 
Iduna opened the gate with the noiseless touch which a 
feminine finger can alone command. * And for the rise of 
the Lord Iskander ! ' added the sentinel. Iduna escaped ! 

Now she indeed was free. Swiftly she ran over the wide 

plain. She hoped to reach some town or village before her 

o a 2 



452 THE RISE OF 

escape conld be discovered, and she hurried on for tliree 
honrs without resting. She came to a beauti^ grove of 
olive-trees that spread in extensive ramifications about the 
plain. And through this beautifal grove of olive-trees her 
path seemed to lead. So she entered and advanced. And 
when she had journeyed for about a mile, she came to an 
open and verdant piece of ground, which was, as it were, 
the heart of the grove. In its centre rose a fair and an- 
tique structure of white marble, shrouding from the noon- 
day sun the perennial flow of a famous fountain. It was 
near midnight. Iduna was wearied, and she sat down 
upon the steps of the fountain for rest. And while she was 
musing over all the strange adventures of her life, she heard 
a rustling in the wood, and being alarmed, she rose and hid 
herself behind a tree. 

And while she stoo& there, with palpitating heart, the 
figure of a man advanced to the fountain from an opposite 
direction of the grove. He went up the steps, and looked 
down upon the spring as if he were about to drink, hnt 
instead of doing that, he drew his scimetar, and plunged it 
into the water, and called out with a loud voice the name 
of * Iskander ! ' three times. Whereupon Iduna, actuate 
by an irresistible impulse, came forward from her hiding- 
place, but instantly gave a loud shriek when she beheld 
the Prince Mahomed ! 

* ! night of gloiy ! ' exclaimed the prince, advancing. 
* Do I indeed behold tlie fair Iduna ! This is truly magic ! ' 

*Away! away!' exclaimed the distracted Iduna, as she 
endeavoured to fly from him. 

* He has kept his word, that cunning leech, better than I 
expected,' said Mahomed, seizing her. 

* As well as you deserve, ravisher ! ' exclaimed a majestic 
voice. A tail figure rushed forward from the wood, and 
dashed back the Turk. 



ISKANDER. 453 

* I am here to complete my contract, Prince Mahomed,' 
said the stranger, drawing his sword. 

' Iskander ! ' exclaimed the prince. 

' We have met before, prince. Let us so act now that 
we may meet for the last time.' 

' Infamous, infernal traitor,' exclaimed Mahomed, ' dost 
thou, indeed, imagine that I will sully my imperial blade 
with tlie blood of my runaway slave ! No ! I came here 
to secure thy panislmient, but I cannot condescend to 
become thy punisher. Advance, guards, and seize him ! 
Seize them both ! ' 

Iduna flew to Iskander, who caught her in one arm, 
while he waved his scimetar with the other. The guards 
of Mahomed poured forth from the side of the grove whence 
the prince had issued. 

^ And dost thou indeed think, Mahomed,' said Iskander, 
* that I have been educated in the Seraglio to be duped by 
Moslem craft. I ofler thee single combat if thou desirest it, 
but combat as we may, the struggle shall be equal.' He 
whistled, and instantly a body of Hungarians, headed by 
Hunniades himself, advanced from the side of the grove 
whence Iskander had issued. 

' Come on, then,' said Mahomed ; * each to his man.' 
Their swords clashed, but the principal attendants of the 
son of Amurath deeming the affair under the present cir- 
cumstances assumed the character of a mere rash adventure, 
bore away the Turkish prince. 

* To-morrow, then, this fray shall be decided on the plains 
of Kiillista,' said Mahomed. 

* Epirus is prepared,' replied Iskander. 

The Turks withdrew. Iskander bore the senseless form 
of Iduna to her father. Hunniades embraced his long-lost 
child. They sprinkled her face with water from the foun* 
tain. She revived. 



454 THE BISE OF 

' Where is Nicaeus ? ' inquired Iskander ; * and how came 
you again, dear lady, in the power of Mahomed ? ' 

* Alas ! noble sir, my twice deliverer,* answered Iduna, 
* I have, indeed, again been doomed to captivity, but my 
persecutor, I blush to say, was this time a Christian prince.* 

*Holy Virgin!' exclaimed Iskander. * Who can tliis 
villain be ? ' 

* The villain. Lord Iskander, is your friend ; and yonr 
pupil, dear fjather.' 

^NicsBus of Athens ! ' exclaimed Huimiades. 

Iskander was silent and melancholy. 

Thereupon the Lady Iduna recounted to her father and 
Iskander, sitting between them on the margin of the fount, 
all that had occurred to her, since herself and Nicaeus parted 
with Iskander ; nor did she omit to relate to Hunniades all 
the devotion of Iskander, respecting which, like a truly 
brave man, he had himself been silent. The great Hunniades 
scarcely knew which rather to do, to lavish his affection on 
his beloved child, or his gratitude upon Iskander. Thus 
they went on conversing for some time, Iskander placing 
his own cloak around Iduna, and almost unconsciously 
winding his arm around her unresisting form. 

Just as they were preparing to return to the Christian 
camp, a great noise was heard in the grove, and presently, 
in the direction whence Iduna had arrived, there came a 
band of men, bearing torches and examining the grove in 
all directions in great agitation. Iskander and Hunniades 
stood upon their guard, but soon perceived they were 
Greeks. Their leader, seeing a group near the fountain, 
advanced to make inquiries respecting the object of his 
search, but when he indeed recognised the persons who 
formed the group, the torch fell from his grasp, and he 
turned away his head and hid his face in his hands. 

Iduna clung to her father ; Iskander stood with his eyes 
fixed upon the ground, but Hunniades, stem and terrible. 



ISKANDER. 455 

disembarrassing himself of tlie grasp of his daughter, ad- 
vanced and laid his hand upon the stranger. 

* Yonng man,' said the noble father, ' Were it contrition 
instead of shame that inspired this attitude, it might be 
better. I have often warned you of the fatal consequences 
of a reckless indulgence of the passions. More than once I 
have predicted to you, that, however great might be your 
confidence in your ingenuity and your resources, the hour 
would arrive when such a career would place you in a posi- 
tion as despicable as it was shamefuL That hour has 
arrived, and that position is now filled by the Prince of 
Athens. You stand before the three individuals in this 
world whom you have most injured, and whom you were 
most bound to love and to protect. Here is a friend, who 
has hazarded his prosperity and his existence for your life 
and your happiness. And you have made him a mere 
pander to your lusts, and then deserted him in his greatest 
necessities. This maiden was the companion of your youth, 
and entitled to your kindest offices. You have treated her 
infinitely worse than her Turkish captor. And for myself, 
sir, your father was my dearest friend. I endeavoured to 
repay his friendship by supplying his place to his orphan 
child. How I discharged my duty it becomes not me to 
say : how you have discharged yours, this lady here, my 
daughter, your late prisoner, sir, can best prove.* 

* Oh ! spare me, spare me, sir,' said the Prince of Athens, 
turning and falling upon his knee. * I am most wretched. 
Every word cuts to my very core. Just Providence has 
baflBed all my arts, and I am grateful. Whether this lady 
can, indeed, forgive me, I hardly dare to think, or even 
hope. And yet forgiveness is a heavenly boon. Perhaps 
the memory of old days may melt her. As for yourself, 

sir but I'll not speak, I cannot. Noble Iskander, if I 

mistake not, you may whisper words in that fair ear, less 
grating than my own. May you be happy ! I will not 



456 THE RISE OF 

pro&ne your prospects with my vows. And yet ril say 
farewell ! ' 

The Prince of Athens turned away with an air of com- 
plete wretchedness, and slowly withdrew. Iskander fol- 
lowed him. 

* Nic89us/ said Iskander ; but the the prince entered tlie 
grove, and did not turn round. 

* Dear Nicaeus,' said Iskander. The prince hesitated. 

* Let us not part thus,' said Iskander. * Iduna is most 
unhappy. She bade me tell you she had forgotten all.' 

' God bless her, and Grod bless you, too ! ' replied Nicaens. 
* I pray you let me go.' 

* Nay! dear Nicaeus, are we not friends ? * 

* The best and truest, Iskander. I will to the camp, and 
meet you in your tent ere morning break. At present, I 
would be alone.' 

* Dear Mcseus, one word. You have said upon one point, 
what I could well wish unsaid, and dared to prophesy what 
may never happen. I am not made for such supreme 
felicity. Epirus is my mistress, my Nicseus. As there is 
a Living God, my friend, most solemnly I vow, I have had 
no thoughts in tlds affair, but for your honour.' 

* I know it, my dear friend, I know it,' replied Nic«us. 
' I keenly feel your admirable worth. Say no more, say no 
more. She is a fit wife for a hero, and you are one ! * 



CHAPTER XX. 



After the battle of the bridge, Iskander had hurried to 
Croia without delay. In his progress, he had made many 
fruitless inquiries after Iduna and Nicseus, but he consoled 
himself for the unsatisfiiQtory answers he received by the 
opinion that they had taken a different course, and the 
conviction that all must now be safe. The messenger from 



ISKANDER. 457 

Croia that informed Hunniades of the escsape of his daughter, 
also solicited his aid in favour of Epirus against the im- 
pending invasion of the Turks, and stimulated by personal 
gratitude as well as by public duty, Hunniades answered 
the solicitation in person at the head of twenty thousand 
lances. 

Hunniades and Iskander had mutually flattered them- 
selves when apart, that each would be able to quell the 
anxiety of the other on the subject of Iduna. The leader 
of Epirus flattered himself that his late companions had 
proceeded at once to Transylvania, and the Yaivode himself 
had indulged in the delightful hope that the first person 
he should embrace at Croia would be his long-lost child. 
When, therefore, they met, and were mutually incapable of 
imparting any information on the subject to each other^ 
they were filled with astonishment and disquietude. Events, 
however, gave them little opportunity to indulge in anxiety 
or grief. On the day that Hunniades and his lances arrived 
at Croia, the invading army of the Turks under the Prince 
Mahomed crossed the mountains, and soon after pitched 
their camp on the fertile plain of Kallista. 

As Iskander, by the aid of Hunniades and the neighbour- 
ing princes, and the patriotic exertions of his countrymen, 
was at this moment at the head of a force which the 
Turkish prince could not have anticipated, he resolved to 
march at once to meet the Ottomans, and decide the fate 
of Greece by a pitched battle. 

The night before the arrival of Iduna at the fisunous 
fountain, the Christian army had taken up its position 
within a few miles of the Turks. The turbaned warriors 
wished to delay the engagement until the new moon, the 
eve of which was at hand. And it happened on that said 
eve that Iskander, calling to mind his contract with the 
Turkish prince made in the gardens of the Seraglio at 
Adrianople, and beliering from the superstitious character 



458 THE EISE OF 

of Mahomed that he would not fail to be at the appointed 
spot, resolved, as we have seen, to repair to the fountain of 
KaUista. 

And now from, that fountain the hero retired, bearing 
with him a prize scarcely less precious than the freedom of 
his country, for which he was to combat on the morrow's 
mom. 

Ere the dawn had broken, the Christian power was in 
motion. Iskander commanded the centre, Hunniades the 
right wing. The left was entrusted at his urgent request 
to the Prince of Athens. A mist that hung about the plain 
allowed Nicaeus to charge the right wing of the Turks 
almost unperceived. He charged with irresistible fury, 
and soon disordered the ranks of the Mosleniin. Mahomed 
with the reserve hastened to their aid. A mighty mtdtitude 
of Janissaries, shouting the name of Allah and his Prophet 
penetrated the Christian centre. Hunniades endeavoured 
to attack them on their flank, but was himself charged by the 
Turkish cavalry. The battle was now general, and raged 
with terrible ftiry. Iskander had secreted in his centre, a 
new and powerful battery of cannon, presented to him by 
the Pope, and which had just arrived from Venice. This 
battery played upon the Janissaries with destruction. He 
himself mowed them down with his irresistible scimetar. 
Infinite was the slaughter ! awful the uproar ! But of all 
the Christian knights, this day, no one performed such 
mighty feats of arms as the Prince of Athens. With a 
reckless desperation he dashed about the field, and every- 
thing seemed to yield to his inspired impulse. His example 
animated his men with such a degree of enthusiasm, that 
the division to which he was opposed, although encouraged 
by the presence of Mahomed himself, could no longer with- 
stand the desperate courage of the Christians, and fled in 
all directions. Then, rushing to the aid of Iskander, Nicaens, 
at the head of a body of picked men, dashed upon the rear 



ISKANDER. 459 

of the Janissaries, and nearly surronnded them. Hnnniades 
instantly made a fresh charge upon the left wing of the 
Tnrks. A panic fell npon the Moslemin, who were little 
prepared for such a demonstration of strength on the part 
of their adversaries. In a few minutes, their order seemed 
generaUj broken, and their leaders in vain endeayoored to 
rally them. Waving his bloody scimetar, and bounding on 
his black charger, Iskander called npon his men to secure 
the triumph of the Gross and the freedom of Epims. Pur- 
suit was now generaL 



CHAPTER XXL 



Thc Turks were massacred by thoosands. Mabomed, wbcti 
he found thai all wa« liost, fled to the mountahuiy with a 
train of gusards and emmchs, and left tbe care o{ hm dl^ 
persed hmA io hu Vzt^*suL Tbe billji were covered wttb 
the fbghiTcs and dietr pormeni. Home fled al«r> to tf«^; 
sea>slMire, wbere tbe Tmicidi fleet wa« ait Toaehfpr, TImt 
plain was stiewn widi tf^nfjim!^ and amM^ and terrts ar/4 
standards. Tbe cnn was x^m hdfd^ in the h^soifrtffrm, Tbe 
mist bad di»md aw^; butt ^oeeaskwal <eic«di( fifmtfkti miU 



gPMB Mmk. afMK ^jm tiue neiamf fM mTlU:, Th^ f^fw mA 
tpnobfo^ ifi«f» <^]ws w«tml «U!9^ w^^M fcturr^ fUl /^miI^IS^ 
bim t»yvm m ^^ itf^vwflMMK fnirmr^ ^!fr^^ hoA k^ khem^-f 
been ^jwȣS^ ^mhUi^^ biidl tiM; ObMitoM: kfi^^ w^ 

Tii*r -•■ixitvtt^ J*w* i»Hu«ii ^ M*tui; tia^fritiJir «rt*«i. it 




460 THE RISE OF 

camp for aid and assistance, conducted the knight to a 
small gp:*een valley, covered with sweet herbs, and entirely 
sorronnded by hanging woods. In the centre rose the 
ruins of a Doric fane ; three or four columns,^ g^J and 
majestic. All was still and silent, save that in the clear 
blue sky an eagle flew, high in the air, but whirling round 
the temple. 

The knight reached the ruins of the Doric fane, and with 
difficulty dismounting from his charger, fell upon the soft 
and flowery turf, and for some moments was motionless. 
His horse stole a few yards away, and though scarcely less 
injured than its rider, instantly commenced cropping the 
inviting pasture. 

At length the Christian knight slowly raised his head, 
and leaning on his arm, sighed deeply. His fla.ce was very 
pale ; but as he looked up, and perceived the eagle in the 
heaven, a smile played upon his pallid cheek, and his 
beautiful eye gleamed with a sudden flash of light. 

* Glorious bird ! * murmured the Christian warrior, * once 
I deemed that my career might resemble thine ! *Tis over 
now ; and Greece, for which I would have done so much, 
will soon forget my immemorial name. I have stolen here 
to die in silence and in beauty. This blue air, and these 
green woods, and these lone columns, which oft to me have 
been a consolation, breathing of the poetic past, and of the 
days wherein I fain had lived, I have escaped from the fell 
field of carnage to die among them. Farewell my country ! 
Farewell to one moro beautiful than Greece, fSarewell, 
Iduna ! * 

These were the last words of Nicaaus, Prince of Athens. 



ISKANDER. 461 



CHAPTER XXII. 

While the unhappy lover of the daughter of Hunuiades 
breathed his last words to the solitary elements, his more 
fortunate friend received, in the centre of his scene of 
triumpli, the glorious congratulations of his emancipated 
country. The discomfiture of the Turks was complete, and 
this overthrow, coupled with their recent defeat in Bul- 
garia, secured Christendom from their assatdts during the 
remainder of the reign of Amurath the Second. Surrounded 
by his princely allies, and the chieftains of Epirus, the 
victorious standards of Christendom, and the triumphant 
trophies of the Moslemin, Iskander received from the great 
Hunniades the hand of his beautifrd daughter. ' Thanks 
to these brave warriors,* said the hero, * I can now oflfer to 
your daughter a safe, an honourable, and a Christian 
home.' 

* It is to thee, great sir, that Epirus owes its security,' 
said an ancient chieftain, addressing Iskander, ' its national 
existence, and its holy religion. All that we have to do 
now is to preserve them ; nor, indeed, do I see that we can 
more effectually obtain these great objects than by entreat- 
ing thee to mount the redeemed throne of thy ancestors. 
Therefore I say God save Iskander, King of Epirus ! ' 

And all the people shouted and said, *GoD save the 
King ! God save Iskander, King op Epirus ! ' 



THE END. 



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